Health and Wealth in Your Region: Anchor Institutions and Regional Food Procurement

Nov 05, 2014
  • Description

Hospitals, schools, universities, and government agencies anchor towns and cities by driving economic development, creating jobs, and facilitating community engagement. While these "anchor institutions" make intentional and targeted investments in community development, they often look beyond their own communities and regions to meet their food procurement needs. Imagine if they treated food purchases as investments in local and regional businesses, economies, and the environment? Anchor institutions can increase their social and economic impacts in their regions while providing constituents with fresh, nutritious food—the fuel of vibrant communities. Procuring food from regional farms and small processors not only provides constituents with fresh and sustainable food; it leverages institutions' substantial buying power to improve both the viability of family farms and the resiliency of rural economies. Procuring food locally is more than an investment in the land and community—it is an upgrade in food service. Produce at the peak of ripeness and flavor satisfies customers' tastes while demonstrating the institution's transparency, community connections, and dedication to serving constituents. Good food—food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable—can distinguish anchor institutions as leaders in food service quality and community development.