The Diverse Values and Motivations of Vermont Farm to Institution Supply Chain Actors

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 27 (5):695-713 (2014)
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Farm to institution (FTI) efforts aim to increase the amount of locally produced foods, typically fruits and vegetables, served by institutions such as schools, colleges, hospitals, senior meal sites, and correctional facilities. Scholars have cited these efforts as contributing to public health and community-based food systems goals. Prior research has found that relationships based on shared values have played a critical role in motivating and sustaining FTI efforts. We review previous studies, discussing values that motivate participation, and affect practices and relationships in FTI supply chains. We use semi-structured interviews to better understand supply chain actors’ values and motivations and how they affect behaviors, with the aim of informing efforts to increase the scope and effectiveness of FTI efforts. All participants are currently engaged in FTI efforts. We find a mix of social and economic values were present for farmers, distributors, and buyers. Our implications focus on the importance of shared values and relationships, the benefit of local food for businesses along the supply chain, and the potential of non-school institution markets as entry points for farmers



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