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Extension > Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships > Community and Local Food Resources > Marketing Local Food > Selling to Institutions and Retail

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Marketing Local Food

Selling to Institutions and Retail farmers market

Increasing sales and expanding a farming operation may be more difficult than it sounds. While farmers markets or truck stands might be viable options for some, most people purchase their food from grocery stores, restaurants, or other outlets. If sales of locally grown food are to increase, farmers need to break into more markets. With the resources provided in this section, farmers can learn about opportunities for selling to a variety of markets including local grocery stores, convenience stops, hospitals, and schools.

Featured Videos

A Restaurant Sourcing Locally
A restaurant's philosophy and practices around sourcing local and organic foods.

Grocery Stores Sourcing Local
Grocery stores and their customers are very sensitive to price. Use strategies to engage customers on the cost and quality of local foods.

An Institution's Food Priorities
A food service director describes the priorities of an institution including quality, price, timing, and more.

Communication on Supply Chain
The importance of building relationships with producers and consumers in building local foods supply chains and distribution networks.


Local Grocery Stores | Corner Stores and Gas Stations | Restaurants | Farm to School | Hospitals

Local Grocery Stores

Rural Grocery Stores
University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
This website includes a collection of resources aimed at helping rural grocery stores overcome challenges.

Selling Directly to Grocery Stores
This guide provides tips and discusses the benefits and challenges of selling locally grown food to restaurants and grocery stores.

Rural Grocery Store Initiative
Kansas State University
The Rural Grocery Store Initiative works to identify and develop models to sustain retail sources of food in rural Kansas. Their website contains educational tools and resources for rural grocers.

Corner Stores and Gas Stations

Healthy Food for All: Healthy Corner Store Strategies from Across the United States
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
This report analyses a variety of strategies corner stores can use to successfully market fruits and vegetables including utilizing WIC, social marketing, and expanding produce selection and visibility. The report also includes useful lessons learned for corner store initiatives to be successful.

Healthy Corner Store Network
Website provides a variety of tools, resources, informative articles, and more to those looking to create healthier food environments.

Healthy Corner Stores: A Best Practices Brief
Ohio State University, Center for Farmland Policy Innovation
This research report provides advice on best practices for establishing and operating healthy corner store by setting goals, building partnerships, and securing funding. The report also covers topics like gaining buy-in from store owners, providing technical assistance, transportation, and more.

Green for Greens: Finding Public Funding for Healthy Food Retail
National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Change Lab Solutions
This report covers strategies for obtaining public funding for economic development projects around healthy food retail. It focuses on food deserts and how to address local foods in low-access communities.

Getting Fresh is Major Opportunity and Challenge for C-store Channel
This article examines the push toward healthier foods in the food industry and provides helpful hints for convenience stores that are exploring fresh produce offerings.

The Supplier-Retailer Gap: Connecting Corner Stores with Local Foods
The Food Trust
This issue brief addresses the issue of selling local foods in corner stores and looks at a few examples from small towns to large cities. The document also provides some recommendations for successful projects to those looking to sell to local stores.


Marketing Fresh Produce to Restaurants
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
This article examines why restaurants want local food, how to develop relationships, potential risks and returns, and how to be a reliable vendor. It also links to other resources.

Selling Local Food to Restaurants and Food Services: Why and How
Food Circles Networking Project
Find out if you’re ready to sell to these institutions with information about consistency, price, presentation, and labeling. Research has shown that restaurants do want to buy local foods.

Local Food Connections: From Farms to Restaurants
Iowa State University Extension
Seasonality, product packaging, ease and efficiency of payment, adequate volume, marketing strategies, going it alone — see what selling to restaurants is all about in this brief document. Get the background information you need before approaching a business.

Selling Directly to Restaurants
This guide provides tips and discusses the benefits and challenges of selling locally grown food to restaurants and grocery stores.

Farm to School

Minnesota Toolkit for School Foodservice
University of Minnesota Extension
This site provides tools for those starting or growing their farm to school programs. Find recipes, trainings, promotion materials, sourcing suggestions, and more. Also includes recipes, sourcing instructions, and more for local foods commonly found in Minnesota.

Farm to School: Growing our Future
University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Department of Health, and Twin Cities Public Television
This farm to school documentary discusses the farm to school movement in Minnesota including the challenges benefits and personal stories of individual farmers who provide product to their local schools.

National Farm to School Network
National Farm to School Network
The National Farm to School Network website is a one-stop resource for farm to school information. Click on your state to find out where you can get local help for your community. The site includes resources, publications, webinars, and more.

Farm to School Evaluation Toolkit
National Farm to School Network
This evaluation tool helps you identify the information you will need to make your farm to school program successful. There are survey forms and interview guides to address food service workers, school administrators, farmers, and students.

How to Start a Farm to School Program
National Farm to School Network
This site has a brief description of five things to think about when starting a farm to school program. It also contains links to other resources and tools that can be helpful to starting and organizing farm to school projects.

Going Local: Paths to Success for Farm to School Programs
Farm to School Network
This report provides eight farm to school case studies from each region across the country. It details the operations and accomplishments as well as the challenges and barriers that project managers overcome when instituting successful programs.

Farm to School Field Guide for Parents and Community Members
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
This publication outlines steps that parents and community members can take to develop successful Farm to School programs, including integrating education into the classroom and creating a School Nutrition Action Council (SNAC).

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
The “Ag in the Classroom” initiative provides resources for teachers to incorporate agriculture-related education into the curriculum. The site offers various lessons in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies and an AgMag, a magazine geared toward 4th-6th graders focusing on food production in Minnesota.


A Sustainable Localized Food Service Plan
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs — University of Minnesota; Regional Sustainable Partnerships — University of Minnesota Extension
This report analyzes conditions relevant to a hospital in rural Minnesota and recommends steps toward implementing a localized food purchasing program. (487 K PDF)

Selling Directly to Institutions: Direct Marketing Strategies
Washington State Department of Agriculture
This fact sheet examines benefits and challenges to direct marketing local products to schools, universities, health care facilities, hospitals extended care facilities, state institutional facilities, and corporate campuses.

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