JAFSCD Food Systems Brief 08

DeliveryBullet 08Case Study of a Hybrid Values-based Supply Chain: The Farm Fresh Healthcare Project

(Brief by Shreya Mathur; original paper by Kendra Klein and Ariane Michas)


Abstract from the original paper, "The Farm Fresh Healthcare Project: Analysis of a Hybrid Values-based Supply Chain," published online November 7, 2014


An emerging literature on values-based supply chains offers models for meeting both the scale-based requirements and values-based goals of farm-to-institution initiatives. These models seek to incorporate conventional supply chain norms of efficiency, standardization, and affordability while meeting the diverse social and environmental values motivating the local food movement. Values-based supply chain models to date have been derived largely from cases of farmer cooperatives and food hubs that have purposefully designed their operations to incorporate alternative agrifood movement values. A model that deserves more attention is hybrid values-based supply chains that incorporate both conventional and alternative resources, infrastructure, and markets. Of the few studies examining hybrid models, some point to benefits such as established supply chain relationships, expertise, and infrastructure that match the needs of institutional purchasers, while others argue that conventional intermediaries reproduce marginalizing structures of mainstream supply chains. This paper explores these tensions through analysis of the Farm Fresh Healthcare Project (FFHP), a farm-to-hospital initiative in the San Francisco Bay Area that engages a set of hospitals' existing regional produce distributors to supply products from local small and midscale family farmers. By engaging conventional intermediaries, the project benefited from existing supply chain infrastructure shaped by norms of efficiency, standardization, and affordability. This paper analyzes the extent to which FFHP actors succeed in embedding in their supply chains a range of non-economic values, including transparency, communication of qualities of provenance and production, decision-making equity, environmental stewardship, and social equity in the form of supporting small and midscale family farmers.

Keywords: Agriculture of the Middle; Farm-to-Hospital; Farm-to-Institution; Local Food Movement; Values-Based Supply Chains

Photo courtesy of the National Farm to School Network.