Thursday, November 19, 2015

Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training Opportunity for Winter 2015-16

Institutional food service buyers– from small group homes and summer meal programs, to schools, colleges and hospitals – are interested in purchasing more “locally-grown” food in New York, especially fresh and minimally-processed fruits and vegetables, but also eggs, meat and dairy.

To take advantage of these markets, farmers need to understand product selection, packaging, food safety, insurance and other requirements of schools, government agencies, and food service management companies. Equally important, growers need to establish relationships with end buyers as well as with distributors and food hubs who service them.

The Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training program will build a network of trainers with the resources and connections to buyers that will enable more New York farmers to connect with schools, colleges, hospitals, daycare and senior meal centers, food banks and more.

Thanks to funding from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NESARE), American Farmland Trust is offering Farm to Institution Market Readiness Training to Cooperative Extension educators, non-profits and government agency service providers or other professionals who work with farmers on business and marketing skills, food hubs, cooperatives or supply aggregators.

There are no fees to participate in the training, which includes a two-day training conference and hotel accommodations in central New York on January 27-28, 2016. All training materials and promotion support for grower workshops will also be provided.

Twenty five Extension and agri-service providers will become familiar with institutions and individual buyers in their regions and gain the knowledge and tools to:
  •  Offer workshops to growers to learn about the opportunity in institutional markets and the particular procedures and requirements of food service buyers, management companies, state agencies and school districts
  • Help growers build relationships with buyers in the supply chain in their region as well as at the New York State level
  • Provide ongoing assistance and opportunities to growers who have taken the workshop
For more information and to apply, please visit our website or contact Glenda Neff at
Applications are due by November 30, 2015.