Using Food Hubs to Create Sustainable Farm to School Programs

This document serves as an overview of four Vermont food hubs’ efforts responding to an institutional demand for locally grown products. Farm-to-School programs have progressively expanded across the state of Vermont, thus stimulating a widespread increase in both local food supply and effective distribution. With a focus on food hubs to develop more sustainable Farm-to-School (FTS) programs, this process offered a chance for reflection on the opportunities and challenges associated with the projects. These arose from a multifaceted array of program aspects, from partnership collaboration to project growth and potential.

The four Vermont food hubs participating in this project were: Addison County Relocalization Network; Green Mountain Farm to School; Mad River Food Hub/Mad River Localvores; and Rutland Area Farm and Food Link. Additional statewide partners engaged in the project offered critical technical support.

The purpose of the project was:

1. To strengthen the regional support structure for farmers and food service staff to provide locally-grown food in schools;

2. To create a Community of Practice among regional food hubs focused on school food procurement; and

3. To demonstrate models of how regional food hubs support FTS programs and increase purchasing of local foods by schools.

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