Michigan institutions expand local food purchasing

Farmers are eager to satisfy demand for local purchases.

June 3—Recent surveys by the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) demonstrate that many Michigan institutions are eager to put more local food on their menus and area farmers are interested in supplying it.

Since 2004, CRFS has conducted six surveys to understand the landscape of Farm to Institution efforts in Michigan. In such initiatives, institutions like schools, early childcare programs, and hospitals connect with area farmers, food producers and vendors who provide local food to the institutions. A recent analysis of data gathered in 2012 and prior Farm to Institution surveys reveals interest in the expansion of such purchasing by both producers and institutional buyers in Michigan.

“We have seen steady growth in local purchasing by food service directors across institutions since 2004,” said Dr. Michael Hamm, CRFS director. “This points to increasing potential for farmers to generate new business in these markets and for institutions to provide the fresher, local foods valued by their customers.”