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Resources > CAN Cooperative Extension Assessment

CAN Research Paper #1: College and University Purchasing of Local Farm and Food Products in Central Appalachia

Current Status and Trends

Submitted by Anthony Flaccavento, SCALE, Inc, July 25th, 2010

Introduction and Overview

Research was conducted by SCALE, Inc during May - July, 2010. Megan Williams, under subcontract with SCALE, undertook most of the information gathering and compilation, as well as surveys of food service personnel at various schools. Anthony completed these phone interviews with food service staff, reviewed and discussed with Megan all of the information gathered and wrote this paper.

Information was obtained on 17 schools in or near the five state region, including four each in Virginia and Tennessee and three each in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. The extent and quality of information varies, depending both upon published information (including school websites) and the responsiveness of dining service staff to enquiries. All major state universities in the region - Ohio University, University of Tennessee, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University - or nearby - University of Virginia, University of Kentucky - were included. It should be noted that information gathered from different sources sometimes seems inconsistent or of questionable reliability. This includes both total dining service budgets - Virginia Tech's published information suggests that they spend more than double per student on food compared to UK or WVU - and amounts spent on local purchases. The latter has not been well tracked by many schools thus far, as they have relied on distributors for their "local sourcing".

The intent of this review is not to provide a comprehensive analysis of every school in the region, but to surface common challenges or obstacles and promising trends and opportunities, the understanding of which might help propel greater purchasing of locally raised or produced foods by colleges and universities in the region.

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Anthony Flaccavento:

Anthony Flaccavento

Anthony Flaccavento has 25 years of hands-on experience in sustainable community development, along with a BS degree in Agriculture and Environmental Science and a Masters degree in Economic and Social Development.

Anthony has been a certified organic produce farmer for the past 15 years during which time he also founded and directed Appalachian Sustainable Development. He is the author of “Healthy Food Systems: A Tool Kit for building Value Chains” and over 100 published articles.

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