Providing the Local Story of Produce to Consumers at Institutions in Vermont: Implications for Supply Chain Members
Farm to institution (FTI) is a movement which aims to increase procurement of locally grown foods by institutions such as schools, colleges, hospitals, senior meal sites, and correctional facilities. FTI provides an opportunity for farmers by expanding their markets, for buyers by meeting demand for fresh, locally grown food, and for distributors by meeting buyersâ€™ demands and expanding their network of suppliers. Previous research has discussed the importance of the story of the food in creating connections between farmers and consumers, yet it becomes difficult to communicate this story as supply chains lengthen. This study focuses on institutional procurement of fresh fruits and vegetables in Vermont. Face to face, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 supply chain actors (farmers, distributors, food hubs and buyers). We find that providing the story has both value and cost, with costs often being borne with those least able to afford them.
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