Local Sourcing Options
Large volume buyers have many options for sourcing local Wisconsin produce and value added products:
1. Source local through a distributor
Contact IFM for information about distributors that carry Wisconsin-grown
produce and local foods. And keep asking your primary vendor for local! Before they carry it,
distributors must know that there is a demand. Be sure to discuss with a distributor how you define
local. Do you want produce from Wisconsin, the Midwest, or 100 miles from your institution?
2. Buy from a local produce auction
Wisconsin produce auctions aggregate produce from local growers, resulting in a
diverse selection of high quality product at wholesale prices. You do not have to attend the auction to
buy – you can place an order by phone and the auction Order Buyer will purchase for you.
3. Purchase farm direct
Some institutions purchase directly from a farm or farm cooperative because they receive high quality
products with a personal connection. Be sure to review your regulations (refrigeration, insurance,
billing) with the grower. Contact us for information about farms near you.
4. Buy through the IFM Local Foods Program
Buy from IFM Members with local product! Check out our growers, local food businesses, and distributors with local product.
profiles for contact information and specifications.
5. Find local producers through Something Special from Wisconsin™
The Something Special from
Wisconsin™ program lists producers of vegetables, dairy, meat, cheese, milk, eggs, yogurt and
other more in their directory. These great Wisconsin items are all marked with the SSfW logo – a
great way to highlight local product to your customers.
6. Buy local food online through Local Dirt
Bid on local produce online! The website
LocalDirt.com works like eBay for produce. It’s easy to use and may score you a great deal!
"Replace what you are already currently using and processing with locally grown when in
season, such as Waldorf and tossed salads, soups, omelets, quiche, casseroles."
"Integrate sourced items into your recipe files, and use them in your salad bar or as
fresh cooked vegetables."
"Pick one item and create a signature dish around it."
"We use fresh summer offerings on the salad bar, or on the steam table and often in our
prepared salads for our cafeteria customers and for our patients."
"Fresh fruits, vegetables and salads, cooked vegetable of the day, potato menu items,
side dishes, etc."
"We created oven browned potatoes, cucumber salad, corn on the cob, and a vegetarian
chili. We also use pumpkins for carving activities"
Sue Liebenstein, St. Mary's Hospital; Emmy Benson, Mendota Mental Health, with their local foods
poster featuring Badgerland Produce Auction at the Wisconsin Dietetic Association Conference 2009.
Photograph courtesy of Kathryn Lederhause.
This meeting is an educational opportunity for large volume buyers to start or expand
local sourcing. Find resources on the
IFM 6th Annual Meeting, and IFM 5th
Annual Meeting event pages.
New to local sourcing?
Local Sourcing 101: A Checklist for Food Service Directors
Download this IFM checklist, which is meant to help you answer some simple but important questions
about local sourcing so you can identify realistic goals and next steps. Understanding the right
questions to ask will also enable you to communicate more effectively with co-workers, supervisors
and staff about why you want to source local food.
Tell the local food story to your customers
These institutions don’t just serve local, they let their customers know all about it! See how they highlight local food on their menus for ideas on how you can do it too! It can be as simple as listing the origins of ingredients.
Buying local produce
Local food safety
No known produce recalls have come from a Wisconsin family farm. Food safety is a must for local growers because their livelihood depends on their reputation, and farm families consume their own produce. To meet your institution’s food safety requirements, you may want to ask a grower for a written food safety plan. Use this Evaluating Food Safety Practices at Local Produce Farms Checklist from DATCP to guide your expectations.
Local food headlines
What’s new with IFM, local food in Wisconsin, and the rest of the country? Check out
these local food articles.
Background information on local food
In your kitchen
IFM Local Food Cooking Class for Institutions
Find seasonal recipes, pictures, and contact information for local food
sources from our cooking class which took place at Mendota Mental
Health Institute in November 2011 and featured Chef Justin Johnson.
Tips for using seasonal produce
Find simple snack and recipe ideas for different seasonal produce items on REAP’s Harvest of the
Month webpage. Their produce factsheets also include educational information – great for marketing
materials of incorporating local food into curriculum!
Fruit and vegetable serving sizes and yields
Download this USDA guide that includes conversions of fresh produce into portion sizes.
Local foods protocol
Local grower protocol template
Download a sample producer protocol sheet. A protocol sheet for supplier of local food that an institution
works with can help keep critical information about ordering from that farmer or distributor together and
prevent disruptions in supply.
Guide to Developing a Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy
Download this guide to help make local food part of your institution’s purchasing policy.
Memo: Schools are allowed to buy local food
Do you need to show that your school can legally purchase local produce? Download this memo from
the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction that explains that schools are allowed to buy
locally grown fresh, whole, raw fruits and vegetables and/or accept donations of those items.
Wisconsin local food initiatives
IFM Coalition Partner Associations