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Farm to Institution Track at the Harvest New England Conference

Harvest New England and FINE logos and conference detailsFarm to Instituion New England is hosting a Farm to Institution Track at the Harvest New England Ag Marketing Conference!

Farm to Institution New England is excited to be hosting a farm to institution track with five workshops at the 2015 Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show, one of New England’s largest agricultural marketing conferences, on February 25-26 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. 

The conference was first held in 2007 and takes place biennially. In 2013, over 825 people attended the two-day conference, which featured 25 breakout sessions organized into five focused tracks, two general sessions, and a full industry trade show with nearly 100 exhibitors was available. A local lunch each day and trade show reception boasted food from local producers, even in the middle of winter. 

We hope to see you there!

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The Farm to Institution Track will include the following workshops: 

Models of Effective Farm to Institution Purchasing Agreements

In this session we will examine several models of successful arrangements that facilitate institutional purchases of local food. Using examples of contracts and growing agreements between institutions and farms, distributors and farms and institutions and their food service providers, panelists will tell the story of how they utilized a written agreement to achieve their goals.  

Unpacking the Distribution Dilemma: What Growers Need to Know About Selling Direct & Through Distributors

Institutions provide a potentially large market for New England farms, but many factors influence the ultimate benefit to farmers. In this session, farmers and dining service directors will describe their selling and purchasing arrangements, and discuss factors relating to customers, business operations, budgets and regulatory framework.

Farm to Institution Nuts & Bolts: Shop Talk with Sector Leaders

Have you tried to tap into the institutional market but faced frequent barriers? In this interactive session you will hear the details of the purchasing structure of institutions from sector experts and have the opportunity for your questions to guide the direction of the conversation.  

Working With Food Hubs & Processing Centers

Food processing facilities and food hubs provide farmers with an opportunity to aggregate their product with that of other farms and lightly process the products to make it easier for institutions to use. This session will provide lessons learned from New England and national food hub and processing experiences and provide an update of who does what in New England and what the future may hold. Each panelist operates a different size operation with a variety of value added products.

Farm to Institution in State Policies

Have policy makers in the room to hear farmer feedback on current and proposed policy. Bring together state department of agriculture commissioners, state representatives and policy advocates to determine how our six New England states can think strategically and create policies that will promote farm to institution.

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This post was originally published on Farm to Institution New England's blog by Kaitlin Haskins, Communications Coordinator. Farm to Institution New England is a six-state network of non-profit, public and private entities working collaboratively to strengthen our food system by increasing the amount of New England-grown and processed food served in our region’s schools, hospitals, colleges and other institutions. Learn more at www.farmtoinstitution.org

Featured image of UMass Amherst Dining courtesy of the Kendall Foundation.