Farmers ask Joie Schoonover, Director of Dining Services, Division of University Housing at UW-Madison,
questions about how institutions purchase local food during the IFM Meeting "Grow and Sell Produce for
Large Volume Wisconsin Buyers" in February, 2010.
Four Ways to Sell Into the Institutional Market
Wisconsin producers have many options to access the institutional market. Which is right for you?
Read about them here, and find information about everything from food safety to yield data in the
general resources section, below.
1. IFM Local Foods Program
Join IFM and have your company profiled on the IFM Local Foods Program page
for large volume buyers to see. In addition, IFM Member producers and distributors are promoted in the
IFM Local Sourcing E-News.
2. Sell Directly to Institutions
Some institutions buy farm direct. Smaller and private institutions are more likely to have this
flexibility. Download our factsheets to learn more about who food service directors are and how
to contact them about your products:
3. Sell Through a Local Produce Aggregator
Produce auction cooperatives and companies that represent many growers, such as Simply Wisconsin
or Green and Green, offer another way to sell into this market. Visit these websites to learn if
selling this way works for you:
4. Sell to a Distributor
Check out our fact sheet,
Working With Distributors,
and see Distributor Profiles of Wisconsin
distributors that purchase local produce and value-added products. Every distributor has
different specifications and their own process for working with growers. Another resource is
product specification sheet – it will help you understand the detailed information
a distributor may want about your produce.
Packaging for large volume buyers
Food Safety – what you need to know
While many institutions do not require local growers to have Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, most will want a written food safety plan. Distributors are more likely to require GAP of all growers.
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