Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 241–255

Still a time to act: A review of institutional marketing of regionally-grown food



Regional institutional marketing supports sustainable farming by bringing wholesome, nutritious food to members of the community. Schools, in particular, can benefit greatly from this arrangement in comprehensive efforts to address childhood obesity. Nineteen previous publications examined issues around supply of and/or demand for regional food procurement by institutions across the United States, including levels of interest, perceived benefits, and barriers to this arrangement. Food service directors, farmers, and/or distributors participated in surveys, interviews, workshops/forums, case studies, and one evaluation about regional food procurement. Accounts of seven farmer cooperatives or networks indicate that institutional customers are more often restaurants (n = 5), health care facilities (n = 2), colleges/universities (n = 2), and other facilities (n = 2), than public schools (n = 1) or food retailers (n = 1). The studies agree that the main benefits offered by regional food procurement are support of the local economy and increased access to fresh and nutritious food. Barriers consistently faced by food services and farmers have to do with lack of infrastructure and financial support for processing and central distribution. Though obstacles vary by district and/or geographic characteristics, results indicate that across groups there is a clear need for better support mechanisms by which farms can connect with regional markets. The practice of farm-to-institution marketing holds the potential to improve nutritional status of community members and financial stability of farmers, though institutional support is needed for systemic transition to this purchasing method.


Farm cooperatives Farm-to-institution Farm-to-school Regional food procurement Sustainable food systems 



U.S. Department of Defense


food service directors


Home Grown Wisconsin


Iowa State University


Non governmental organizations


New North Florida Co-operative


United States Department of Agriculture


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford Center for Prevention ResearchStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Department of NutritionUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.DavisUSA

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