Using a Supply Chain Analysis To Assess the Sustainability of Farm-to-Institution Programs
AbstractInterest in local and sustainable food among colleges and universities has risen considerably in the last decade. This study focuses on how to foster farm-to-institution programs by exploring barriers, opportunities, and potential solutions from different perspectives in the supply chain. We use a values-based supply chain approach to see what unique insights can be offered to people developing and maintaining these programs. Three research methods — a national survey of college students, a survey of institutional food service buyers in California, and in-depth interviews of people in the California distribution system, including farmers, distributors, and food service buyers — are used to collect data and perspectives from throughout the supply chain. Using the concepts from supply chain literature of product flows, financial flows, and information flows, we highlight key insights for various participants in the supply chain. Strengthening information flows and building relationships that allow all parties to build trust over time emerged as one of the most important elements in the success of these values-based supply chains. Educational institutions and the media can support these chains by becoming the vehicles for ongoing exchange of information among supply chain partners and the public.
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