Download the full PDF version of Produce Purchasing Pilot Project here.
For the 2014 growing season, Washington Food Coalition, in partnership with Rotary First Harvest (and its Harvest Against Hunger AmeriCorps*VISTA program) worked with three sites around the state to pilot a new program that purchases locally from small farmers. The funds for the project were generously provided through the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Food Assistance Programs.
The pilot-project purchasing model is based upon two purchasing programs currently being used in Western Washington: The Bellingham Food Bank’s Seed Money Program and Community Action of Skagit County’s farm purchasing program. Three pilot project sites were chosen and granted $4,000 each to purchase fresh produce from small local farms in Carnation, Vancouver and Colville.
Based upon the work in Bellingham and Skagit County, it was recommended the pilot sites set-up contracts, pay before delivery, and reach out to multiple farms. By taking these steps, the sites would grow new relationships and strengthen existing ones with local farms. Another expected outcome was the pilot would help create a strong and mutually bene cial partnership for both food banks and farmers.