Buy Fresh Buy Local: Building Marketing Opportunities for Local Foods in Restaurants and Institutional Food Services

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $108,750.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:
Rachel Armstrong
REAP Food Group

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: economic/marketing


    This project was intended to strengthen the agricultural economy of the seven county “Capital Region” of Wisconsin through development of the restaurant and institutional market for fresh, fresh-processed, and locally produced products. This was accomplished by fostering connections between farmers and chefs via individual consultation, events, and training of buyers and sellers. Facilitation of local food purchases was complimented by a branding and marketing campaign, utilizing a customized graphic developed in partnership with FoodRoutes national “Buy Fresh Buy Local” program. The marketing campaign allowed the value-added concepts of “fresh” and “local” to be captured by both farmers and institutional food services. Businesses that partnered with us in our Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBL) program experienced increased demand from consumers and significantly increased their purchases of local products during this two year period.

    Project objectives:

    The following were established as preformance targets at the outset of BFBL

    Research and Relationship Building

    1. Project staff will attain comprehensive understanding of the constraints and opportunities for increasing purchases of local farm products by restaurants and institutional food services.

    2. Farmers and farm groups in the region will become aware of restaurants and institutional food services that are interested in purchasing locally.

    3. Restaurateurs and institutional food service buyers will become aware of the farmers, farm groups and brokering mechanisms available to them.

    4. Effective purchasing relationships among farmers and farmer groups and institutional buyers (grocers, restaurants, institutional food services) will be established.

    Education and Outreach Campaign

    1. Restaurants, institutions, farmers and farm groups will find the outreach materials appealing and persuasive and will see the value of becoming part of a campaign.

    2. Capital Region consumers will gain awareness about the campaign and about the benefits of supporting “Buy Fresh Buy Local” partners.

    3. Two hospitals, twelve restaurants, one government food service provider, and one university food service will commit to purchasing local foods and branding themselves as part of the campaign.

    4. Consumer demand for local foods at participating food service establishments will increase.

    Brokering Mechanism Facilitation

    1. Two hospitals, twelve restaurants, one government food service provider, and one university food service will have the resources, knowledge and skills to implement order/procurement processes, buying from 10 individual farmers and/or 1 farmer cooperative and/or 1 brokering enterprise.

    2. Two hospitals, twelve restaurants, one government food service provider, and one University food service will increase orders of local foods from ten individual farmers and/or one farmer cooperative and/or one brokering enterprise

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.