Posted November 19, 2015
This year, our focus has been on four major projects: our Farm & Sea to Campus Project, the collaborative Maine Food for the UMaine System, our Shared Metrics Project and our Food Service Action Project. We've also continued convening people, raising money for farm to institution, facilitating connects and communicating within our network and beyond. Through these projects and activities, we've made major strides in strengthening the farm to institution movement in New England.
Interested in learning more about our projects? We've put together this roundup to fill you in:
FARM TO CAMPUS
The Farm & Sea to Campus Project aims to increase the amount of local food served in colleges and universities. Currently, our efforts are focused on developing seafood case studies, planning convenings for 2016 and facilitating connections between producers and colleges.
We’re also building the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network, which is a community of higher education and food systems stakeholders. To join the network, email [email protected].
Are you a dining director or chef at an institution? Check out our recipe series developed to help you use more local and regional food.
The Maine Food For the UMaine System Project is a collaborative initiative that involves four organizations and hundreds of farmers, students, faculty and others. We’re working with Maine Farmland Trust, Real Food Challenge and Environment Maine to get more local and regional food into the public universities in Maine.
In Fall 2015, the University of Maine system put out a dining services request for proposals that called for 20% local food in campus dining halls by 2020 — this is a great start! We are currently developing a series of short videos that tells the story of Maine farmers and builds enthusiasm for regional food in Maine’s public universities.
The Shared Metrics Project is a major data-driven overview of the farm to institution food market chain. The project covers all facets of the supply chain, from production to distribution and consumption.
We are currently developing a set of shared metrics for farm to institution in the region — a common set of key indicators showing the impact of farm to institution initiatives. Our data comes from both primary and secondary sources for schools, colleges, hospitals, food distributors, food producers and more.
Highlights of the data are featured in a brand new interactive online dashboard, which you can visit at dashboard. farmtoinstitution.org (a work in progress!).
The Contracted Food Service Action Project is a multi-year effort that aims to increase the understanding of how food service management companies work. We also assist institutions in utilizing the request for proposal and contract negotiation processes to increase purchases of local foods.
In 2015, we published two reports on food service management companies. We also conducted research on the value of food service management companies in meeting the values-based purchasing goals of institutions.
Findings of our research will be featured in an online toolkit that includes key recommendations for institutions and advocates — stay tuned for this resource!