Value Chains for Sustainable Procurement in Large School Districts: Fostering Partnerships
Keywords:Farm To School, Large School Districts, Participatory Research, Partnerships, Practitioners, School Meals, Urban School Districts, Values-Based Value Chains
AbstractValues-based value chains and farm to school programs are two aspects of the alternative agri-food system that have received a great deal of attention recently from scholars and practitioners. This paper chronicles two separate pilot efforts to create value chains for mid-scale farms to supply large school districts' food-service operations with more healthful, local, and sustainably produced foods, using a modified farm to school model. Early farm to school efforts were mostly farm-direct, a model that poses difficulty for large districts, which often require some kind of intermediary to procure the volume and form of products required for the scale of their food-service operations. Value chains have the potential to address this issue, as part of a more broad-based sustainable school food procurement model that can met the needs of large districts. The lessons learned about the various roles scholars and community partners might play in creating, sustaining, and monitoring performance of these value chains are highlighted.
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