Visit these resources to learn how to start purchasing local foods for your school or institution.
- Institutional Procurement of Local Food – NH (Farm to Institution New England): details the current policies and projects addressing purchasing policy in NH.
- NH Farm to Institution Toolkit (NH Food Alliance & NH Farm to School): A New Hampshire specific resource designed to guide NH schools, hospitals, and other institutions towards purchasing more local food. Includes help and resources on choosing a food service company, making purchasing decisions, negotiating contracts, and more.
- Bringing Local Food to Local Institutions (ATTRA): A resource guide with examples and case studies for farmers, food service managers and the community to begin or expand farm-to-institution programs
- A Toolkit for Institutional Purchasers Sourcing Local Food from Distributors (Farm to Institution New England): Comprehensive toolkit focused around communication methods for sourcing, tracking, and reporting local foods procurement. Includes sample questions to distributors and a sample letter you can adapt to your needs. Also has a directory of New England local produce distributors!
- Local Procurement for Child Care Centers (National Farm to School): Fact sheet for child care centers to source local foods for children
- Local Procurement for Family Child Care Providers (National Farm to School): Another fact sheet geared towards family providers to source local foods
- USDA Farm to Preschool: Local Food and Learning in ECC and Education Settings (USDA): This helpful fact sheet presents basic information about farm to preschool efforts, including tips and resources as well as up-to-date information on federal procurement regulations.
- Sea to School Guide (NH Farm to School): A resource for cafeterias who want to serve local fish and sea products
- How to Sell to AMS-a guide for producers
- Selling Fish to AMS– a guide for fishermen or businesses
- NOFA-NH’s Organic Farm and Food Map: allows you to find certified organic farms and producers throughout the state of New Hampshire by name, location or product sold or handled and to learn more about NOFA-NH certified organic member farms. Not all farms allow visitors so please call ahead if you are interested in visiting a farm.
- UNH Extension’s Farm Products Map
- NH Food Hub Network: This is a network of local food hubs working together to collaboratively strengthen NH’s local food economy. By unifying efforts they aim to: trade goods that are unique to each of the hub’s regions; create more sales avenues for farmers, fishermen, and food producers by accessing institutional markets; create communities of best practice for food safety; make more efficient trade routes; share resources; and build trust and communication. The Network launched in 2020 in partnership with the Kearsarge Food Hub and is currently housed within the NH Food Alliance.
- Vermont FEED’s Local Food Procurement Toolkit: Incorporating local foods into school nutrition programs is easier than you may think. And, the benefits can far outweigh the challenges! When students are served fresh, skillfully-prepared foods from local producers, the result is often increased participation, which leads to greater revenue for the school meal program, improved student nutrition, and increased connection to the community. Going through a procurement process may seem like just more paperwork, but it actually builds relationships between buyers and sellers: Buyers achieve a consistent supply of product that meets their criteria, and sellers know what is expected.
HOW TO: Local Food Procurement Processes for Farmers and Schools
Contact the schools in your town or district and talk with the Food Service Directors. Find out which fruits and vegetables they typically need, and let them know which farm products you plan to have available during the months school is in session.
- Contact the NH Farm to School Program and let us know you’re interested in selling to schools. We can provide you with contacts at participating schools.
- Consider growing some crops specifically for a school.
- Explore the possibility of selling to a distributor who buys from local farms and supplies local schools.
- Offer tours to school groups so that the next generation will learn where their food comes from.
A few things schools will need from you:
- Delivery on an agreed upon day
- An invoice with net 30 terms
- Schools would like to know what is going to be available ahead of time, as meals are planned weeks in advance.
- Schools want to buy from farms that use Good Agricultural Practices.
- Ask your produce distributor if they offer locally grown fruits and vegetables. Make it a priority to order foods grown locally.
- Buy NH-grown produce directly from a local farm.
- Post information for your staff and students about the local farms where the food was grown.
- If your current distributor does not offer local options, contact one who does.
- Organize a local foods taste test in your cafeteria.
- Plan a local harvest meal, featuring local foods.
- Start a school vegetable garden.
- Take a field trip to a local farm