Institutions have the ability to truly bolster the local farming economy with volume wholesale purchases. Louisville Farm to Table knows institutions have the difficult task balancing nutrition, cost, picky eaters, special diets, budgets, and a myriad of other interests in creating stellar lunch offerings. Like restaurants, institutions can increase the appeal of a menu by making local food visible to patrons, students, and parents.
Louisville Farm to Table will work your institution to build capacity and find creative solutions to help make your organization a model farm to table entity. We will match you with farmers that can suit your specific needs and work with staff to create policies that will give your partnerships with local farmers staying power. Click here for additional resources for institutions.
Louisville Farm to Table and Jefferson County Public Schools
Louisville Farm to Table works with JCPS to expand their local food options by introducing them to new farmers and foods and strategically matching JCPS’s needs with Kentucky farmers. Further, Louisville Farm to Table works with players throughout the food system including processors, distributors, farmers, and JCPS buyers to facilitate and bolster existing relationships with the school system. Often after an introduction is made, a JCPS school will develop its own relationship with a farmer or group of farmers, shortening the food chain. Louisville Farm to Table has had success in facilitating brokerages of local watermelon, sweet corn, chicken, all beef hot dogs, and butternut squash.
Serving 118,000 Louisville students per day, JCPS is an active member in the National Farm to School program. By supporting Farm to School, JCPS demonstrates a commitment to promoting healthy eating habits while supporting farmers and farm economics.
Louisville Farm to Table and parochial schools
During the 2017-2018 school year, Louisville Farm to Table worked with Ascension School to procure nearly $9,400 of direct-farm-impact Kentucky Proud produce and meat. For 72 days between August and May, an average of 8 days per month, locally sourced food was available to students in the cafeteria.
As reported by students, parents, and cafeteria workers, the most popular locally sourced foods were walking tacos with grass-fed local beef, grilled Kentucky Dawgs, pulled pork sliders made with local pork shoulder, and the salad bar featuring local tomatoes, corn, and mini sweet bell peppers. Ascension School was able to successfully integrate local foods into the menu every month thanks to regular menu planning meetings and teamwork between Ascension leadership, parents, cafeteria workers, and Louisville Farm to Table. Louisville Farm to Table is continuing its work with parochial schools in the area and is seeking additional partners for making farm to school a reality!
Louisville Farm to Table and universities
Louisville Farm to Table has been instrumental in introducing University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, and Berea College procurement specialists to farmers, processors, and distributors. Further, Louisville Farm to Table staff has collaborated with university staff to navigate the intricacies of food service contracts and maximize local food programming within the limitations of those contracts and within budget constraints. Louisville Farm to Table works to find creative solutions to increase local food procurement while upping healthy food availability and has been successful in helping to introduce local cheese, local chicken, local beef, and a cornucopia of local vegetables to university cafeterias.
Louisville Farm to Table and hospitals
Louisville Farm to Table has worked closely with Norton Healthcare to make local food widely available to those working, visiting and staying in their hospitals. Since beginning work with Louisville Farm to Table, Norton has sourced over 2,500 pounds of local grass-fed beef for grass-fed burger Fridays and spent over $5,000 per month on local produce, with a seasonally appropriate vegetable featured in the cafeteria each month. Norton has also hosted several farmers markets on campus where patrons can purchase produce at wholesale costs, and they conducted a staff farm tour at Foxhollow Farms. By nurturing these institutional relationships, Louisville Farm to Table helps to bolster all aspects of the local food economy.