In 2014, Sodexo launched Vermont First, a first of its kind program committing Sodexo to increase local purchasing across its Vermont institutional markets. Since its inception, our aim has been to grow market opportunity for local producers, stimulate job growth, and ensure the viability of Vermont’s working lands.
We do this through strategic purchasing shifts, collaboration with stakeholders, increasing consumer awareness, and training and enabling our operators to implement Vermont First objectives. Vermont First has been recognized as a best practice in farm to institution work for its transparent, rigorous tracking system and strategic alignment of institutional purchasing needs with local supply.
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Vermont First is Sodexo's commitment to the Vermont Community to support:
- Vermont's local economy through the creation of inclusive market opportunities accessible for local producers, including BIPOC, woman owned, and small-scale farm and food businesses.
- Accessible and equitable opportunities for employees to gain the knowledge and skills for food system careers.
- An environmentally sustainable food system through food purchases, and resource management such as ensuring that all foods are used for their highest and best purpose and not considered waste.
- BIPOC participation, representation, collaboration, and access to resources in order to help create a racially equitable food system and to remove racist structural barriers for economic opportunity.
Why does Farm to Institution matter?
- Food access and equity
Nearly 1/4 of the New England population spends time at institutions every year. That population is a microcosm of our communities. It's important that institutions lead by example and do our part to be a positive factor in our complex and important food system upon which we all rely.
- Community Development
Institutions buy a lot of food and influence a lot of people, as staff, students, patients, residents, and though leaders. Can provide steady, predictable demand to support viable farms. Viable farms are good for society, economy, and can be good for environment with sustainable growing practices
Contribute to food resilience through building supply chain relationships and local food infrastructure
Contributes to educational mission of institutions/food systems and nutrition education
Ability to coordinate with other markets to create collective demand