FINE's Food Service Project conducts research and provides education, resource development and technical assistance for institutional leaders and supply chain partners in New England. Our goal is to address systemic barriers and forge innovative solutions to increase the procurement of local food at all institutions.
This project connects food service directors with resources and technical assistance to navigate complicated food purchasing contract requirements and enable local food procurement. This is a multi-year project that aims to increase the understanding of how food service management companies (FSMCs) work and assist institutions that are managed by FSMCs to utilize the request for proposal (RFP) and contract negotiation processes to increase purchases of local foods.
In recent years, we've conducted research on the current progress, policies, and infrastructure related to the procurement of local food within two food service management companies, across four New England states, and in three sectors: colleges, public school districts, and hospitals. As a result, we produced two publications (see below). We also researched the value of food service management in meeting the values-based purchasing goals of institutions as they relate to the procurement of local and regional food.
Our project goals are to:
- Create a venue for experienced New England advocates, working in different institutional sectors, to regularly exchange detailed information about specific food service management company policies and procedures, and, through collaborative action, to become more effective in their dealings with food service management companies.
- Improve communications with food service management company representatives, their vendors and institutional customers to enhance transparent purchasing of regionally grown food by supply chain partners.
- Conduct a food service management company contract evaluation and technical assistance project to identify actionable opportunities to increase local food purchasing by New England institutions.
As a result of research conducted in Phase 1 of this project, our team produced two publications about working with food service management companies to buy more local food for institutional food service.
As a result of research conducted in Phase 2 of this project, our team built a brand new online toolkit designed to help you understand the process of working with food service management companies to maximize opportunities to incorporate local and regional food into your menus.
Peter Allison, Network Director, Farm to Institution New England
Kaitlin Haskins, Communications Coordinator, Farm to Institution New England
John Turenne, Food Service Project Consultant, Sustainable Food Systems, LLC
Lisa Damon, Mass Farm to School
Amanda Jacir, Real Food Challenge
Jen Obadia, Health Care Without Harm
John Turenne, Sustainable Food Systems, LLC
Jen White, Colby-Sawyer College
To learn more about this project or get involved, contact Peter Allison at [email protected].