By Kaitlin Haskins, Communications Manager (outgoing)

Posted July 28, 2015

News

Maine Food for UMaine News

Maine Producers a Priority in Upcoming University Food Service Contract

New University of Maine Board Policy Provides Preference for Maine Farmers

The University of Maine System’s award-winning strategic procurement department is preparing to issue a Request for Proposals in August of 2015 for a food service vendor contract for six of system’s seven campuses that provided meal plans to 2,766 students in the Fall of 2014.  Procurement staff and members of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees have been meeting with members of the Maine Food for the UMaine System Coalition over the last several months to consider recommendations on how to make local, sustainably produced foods a priority in the RFP process.  The university system anticipates an award announcement in January of 2016 and the signing of a contract in March of 2016.  

The University of Maine in Orono, which provided meal plans for 3,809 students in the Fall of 2014, has a self-operated dining program and will not be a part of the upcoming RFP.  UMaine has a strong commitment to local sourcing and spends 18% of its annual food service expenditure budget, approximately $1 million, with Maine-based companies.

In May of 2015 the UMS Board of Trustees approved a policy to, “Allow reasonable preference when feasible for food goods produced sustainably, in a manner that minimizes transportation to the consuming location, or with other such environmental attributes or advantages as may be available in the marketplace, while balancing those benefits against price and other considerations.”  

"Maine’s farmers are some of America’s best while the agricultural sector is both a cornerstone of Maine's economy and a key to our economic future,” said James H. Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System.  "The award-winning strategic procurement department we have developed as part of the One University Initiative is working closely with Maine-based producers to develop opportunities for local farmers as part of our next food service contract while balancing student desires for affordability and sustainable.”

“Maine’s agricultural industry and its local farmers are a top priority for university research and spending,” said Sam Collins, Chair of the UMS Board of Trustees. "UMaine invested $9.6 million in grant funding last year in food and agriculture research in campus labs and at private farms across Maine to support our farm economy while the sourcing policy approved by the Board of Trustees earlier this year creates balanced preferences for sustainable, locally produced food in the selection process for future food service contracts at all our campuses.”

To learn more about the Maine Food for UMaine initiative and find our recommendations to integrate local food language into the UMS request for proposals, visit www.farmtoinstitution.org/maine-food-umaine.


In the Press: 

7/27/15 Portland Press Herald Online
7/27/15 Maine Insights
7/27/15 MPBN (Maine's NPR news source)
7/26/15 Bangor Daily News