, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 321-332
Date: 09 Mar 2012

You can know your school and feed it too: Vermont farmers’ motivations and distribution practices in direct sales to school food services

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Abstract

Farm to School (FTS) programs are increasingly popular as methods to teach students about food, nutrition, and agriculture by connecting students with the sources of the food that they eat. They may also provide opportunity for farmers seeking to diversify market channels. Food service buyers in FTS programs often choose to procure food for school meals directly from farmers. The distribution practices required for such direct procurement often bring significant transaction costs for both school food service professionals and farmers. Analysis of data from a survey of Vermont farmers who sell directly to school food services explores farmers’ motivations and distribution practices in these partnerships. A two-step cluster analysis procedure characterizes farmers’ motivations along a continuum between market-based and socially embedded values. Further bivariate analysis shows that farmers who are motivated most by market-based values are significantly associated with distribution practices that facilitate sales to school food services. Implications for technical assistance to facilitate these sales are discussed.