We support the work of institutions navigating the process of purchasing and incorporating local foods into their kitchens. The Piedmont Environmental Council has conducted a workshop series that connected institutional buyers with local food distributors, and highlighted several local food purchasing success stories. From this workshop we developed a tour series to visit local food distributors and institutions that are successfully purchasing local foods.
One of the main take-away messages we heard over and over again from successful local buying programs was to start small—whether that means just purchasing apples when they are in season, offering one local food at one meal a week, or focusing on local food for a single special event like a staff party or a holiday meal.
If you are an institutional buyer, we'd strongly encourage you to sign up for Farmer-Chef Express.
Farmer Chef Express is an online, interactive tool we have created to connect buyers and sellers of local food. Listings outline specific product needs or product availability so that buyers and sellers can connect with each other and establish productive business relationships. All you have to do is sign up in order to create a post or search for products!
“The most important thing about developing a sustainable foods program is to recognize that it can be a strategy to impact the economic security of the local community, as well as to promote positive health practices. INOVA’s sustainable foods program has been developed as an upstream solution to supporting the health of our patients, employees and community.”
~ Seema Wadha, Director of Sustainability, INOVA Health System
“I was introduced to the Local Food Hub at PEC’s workshop series. We started talking, I started ordering some food from them, and it’s been great ever since. I think people like knowing that the food is fresher and better for you. Many have noticed that it is a better product.”
~ Clyde Firman, Food Service Director, Woodberry Forest School
“We wanted to make fresh, local foods available. After all, we’re in the business of keeping people healthy.”
~ Chef Tony DeWalt, Executive Chef, Fauquier Hospital’s Bistro on the Hill