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The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

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A Sustainable, Localized Food Service Plan: Development Strategies for Lakewood Health System

Myslajek, Lisa

Like many institutional food facilities nationwide, Lakewood Health System (LHS) is developing a sustainable and local food-purchasing program as a means to provide fresher and healthier products while supporting sustainable agricultural systems and the local economy. In spite of the myriad of challenges that many institutions face in developing local purchasing programs, Lakewood is committed to the continuation of increasing amounts of sustainable local purchases. This paper addresses several of the challenge areas involved with the development of a sustainable local food purchasing program. Research was conducted to identify strategies for overcoming these challenges, and the findings from this research are detailed below. From those identified strategies and additional research to determine resources specifically available to LHS, recommendations for the expansion of the local purchasing program are provided. The challenge areas addressed in this report include 1) identifying and tracking sustainable purchases, 2) product availability and sourcing, 3) consistent supply and seasonality, 4) logistics with ordering, deliveries, and invoicing, 5) group purchasing organizations, 6) costs and budgeting, and 7) menu planning. The research was conducted by gathering information from local and regional distributors, existing research, and interviews with food service directors at other institutional food facilities and individuals from organizations aiming to advance local food systems. Strategies were identified for each of the challenges addressed in this paper. Based on the strategies identified and the general recommendations provided by other research, the final section of this paper was developed to recommend the next steps for increasing local and sustainable purchases. These steps are guidelines to ensure that while products are being sourced, that they are being appropriately “graded” and selected based on the following: A) their values in terms of sustainability issues addressed with product purchases, and B) the ease of integrating the local products into the food service program.

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Prepared in partnership with Lakewood Health System by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
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