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Oregon Institutional Food Purchasing Project

Oregon Institutional Food Purchasing Project

Project Purpose

The purpose of this project is to coordinate institutional food buyers (health care, education, government, non-profit, and business) through a regional network to create an increased, consistent demand for Oregon specialty crops (defined as fruits, vegetables and tree nuts for the purpose of this project) and send strong market signals to producers and suppliers to increase supply.

Project Background

There is immense untapped potential for the Oregon food system to be an economic driver and job creator. The Portland Metro region spends over $4 billion buying food each year, with the overwhelming majority (95%) of those dollars spent on food produced and processed outside of our region. According to Ecotrust's 7-Cents Report (funded by Kaiser), institutional buyers in Oregon recently demonstrated that the purchase of local foods has a 1.86 economic multiplier and a 2.43 employment multiplier. The institutional food buyer sector represents a huge untapped market opportunity for the Oregon specialty crops that currently account for 60% of Oregon farms' gate value. By driving demand in this sector, this project will make it easier for farmers to secure reliable and consistent markets, and encourage buyers at other scales of business to access Oregon specialty crops through traditional distribution networks.

Project Activities

Coordinated through the Institutional Food Buyers Alliance, institutions participating in the Purchasing Project, including health care facilities, schools, and municipal food service operations will:

  • Develop a baseline of current purchases
  • Identify target Oregon grown fruits, vegetables and tree nuts
  • Participate in farm/producer tours and culinary trainings
  • Work with existing and alternative supply chains to increase their purchase of these target products
  • Track purchasing of target products to assess impact on regional producers and farm economy

Oregon PSR, working in coordination with the following partners, will coordinate these project activities and provide training and technical assistance to participants. Partners include:

Get Involved

For more information and to become involved in this Project, contact Emma Sirois, Healthy Food Program Director, at 503-780-9859.