For Institutions/Schools/Grocers

For Institutions & Schools

We support the work of institutions navigating the process of purchasing and incorporating local foods into their kitchens. The Piedmont Environmental Council has conducted a workshop series that connected institutional buyers with local food distributors, and highlighted several local food purchasing success stories. From this workshop we developed a tour series to visit local food distributors and institutions that are successfully purchasing local foods.

One of the main take-away messages we heard over and over again from successful local buying programs was to start small—whether that means just purchasing apples when they are in season, offering one local food at one meal a week, or focusing on local food for a single special event like a staff party or a holiday meal.

Consider these options:

  • Contract growing: contact a single farm and discuss them growing a single product for you—salad greens, apples, or a whole cow for burger.
  • CSA shares: Community Supported Agriculture allows you to ‘buy into’ a farm for a season and receive a weekly share of fresh farm products.  While CSA’s have been generally tailored to families, some smaller institutions may find that a CSA can work for them.  Talk with the farm to see if a CSA is an option for your institution.
  • Farmers’ Markets: Encourage your food buyer to visit the weekly farmers’ markets in your area.
  • Local Food Distributors and Wholesalers: With the growth in demand for local food, wholesalers of local food and commercial distributors have begun servicing institutional local food needs.

“The most important thing about developing a sustainable foods program is to recognize that it can be a strategy to impact the economic security of the local community, as well as to promote positive health practices.  INOVA’s sustainable foods program has been developed as an upstream solution to supporting the health of our patients, employees and community.”
~ Seema Wadha, Director of Sustainability, INOVA Health System

“I was introduced to the Local Food Hub at PEC’s workshop series.  We started talking, I started ordering some food from them, and it’s been great ever since. I think people like knowing that the food is fresher and better for you.  Many have noticed that it is a better product.”
~ Clyde Firman, Food Service Director, Woodberry Forest School

“We wanted to make fresh, local foods available.  After all, we’re in the business of keeping people healthy.”
~ Chef Tony DeWalt, Executive Chef, Fauquier Hospital’s Bistro on the Hill


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