Getting Down to Details: How to Use Velocity Reports to Up Your Game on Sourcing Local Food

Peggy Briggs, New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network | Communications & Outreach Working Group Chair


On November 15th, 2017, the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network (FSCN) along with Farm to Institution New England (FINE) co-hosted a webinar called “Getting Down to Details: How to Use Velocity Reports to Up Your Game on Sourcing Local Food” to introduce key first steps for institutions to make effective food shifts to local products.

With more than 90 dining directors, chefs, sustainability leaders, farmers, and educators from across New England and the country participating, the webinar provided step-by-step guidance to utilize velocity reports to analyze the planning and purchasing process to strategically swap commodity products to locally sourced options.

The one-hour webinar is the first in a series of practical coaching sessions designed by the FSCN's supply chain development working group. The following speakers provided detailed methods to encourage and empower dining directors and other stakeholders to create solid data analysis to inform and power local purchasing:

  • Mike Webster is the general manager of dining at The Hotchkiss School in Litchfield, Connecticut. Mike’s pioneering work has led the Hotchkiss Dining program to source 100% of land-based proteins within a 250-mile radius and to achieve a 60% Real Food Challenge Score in 2017.
  • Rachel Dutton Harb is the training coordinator for Massachusetts Farm to School and farm to school coordinator for Chicopee Public Schools in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Rachel acts as a partner with public schools to write school menus, conduct local food audits and facilitate relationships between food service directors, farmers, vendors, and distributors.

Highlights of this webinar include these five actionable tips to de-mystify the task of making the shift to local products and harness the power of purchasing data to prioritize and plan:

  1. Gather data on your current spending utilizing velocity reports from vendors showing purchases, product description, quantity, and total dollars spent.
  2. Scour the data to identify low-variance, mid-price items that are available locally in your region.
  3. Negotiate directly with local producers for a fair market price, leveraging relationships and using institutional purchasing values as a guide.
  4. Make the switch to the new local product! Continue to evaluate the impact of your local spend investment on your overall budget via velocity reports.
  5. Utilize lessons you've learned to set goals and plan for future swaps.

Ready to make a shift to local sourcing but not sure how to begin? Our experienced experts will inspire you to take the first step by giving you the practical tools you need and the confidence to drive change in your institution. The Getting Down to Details: How to Use Velocity Reports to Up Your Game on Sourcing Local Food Webinar is now available online as a resource to guide your local purchase buying.

Webinar Recording

Did you miss the webinar? It's OK! You can watch the recording:


Slide Deck

The webinar slide deck is available as a PDF for download and a SlideShare view. 


More Information

You might like to learn more about the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network.

Are you interested in hearing about other farm to institution efforts and getting better connected with this network? Here are a few ways to do so: