Canandaigua Lake foodshed: Farm-to-cafeteria program

2006 Annual Report for CNE06-004

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2006: $9,053.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Deborah Denome
Seeking Common Ground

Canandaigua Lake foodshed: Farm-to-cafeteria program


This is a collaborative project that is raising awareness about using local farm produce and products in institutions, and address the low volume of local foods being utilized by institutions in the Canandaigua Lake Foodshed region of New York. We first raised awareness of the benefits and opportunities of using local foods at a “Breakfast with Farmers” event in June 2006. Food Service Directors from local schools, a hospital and the county jail attended and savored a farm fresh breakfast, met local farmers, and heard presentations from those who are already successfully buying and selling local foods for use in institutional food service. Common barriers and opportunities were identified and addressed.

We then completed readiness assessments with interested farms and institutions and began the process of establishing vibrant farm-institution partnerships in the fall of 2006. In the first three months we generated over $4,000 in new cafeteria markets for local farmers. The goal is to increase the use of local foods at these institutions by 5-10% over 12 months while planting the seeds for these types of partnerships to become the norm, rather than the exception, in the Canandaigua Lake Foodshed.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The following are the objectives and performance targets for the 2006 reporting period that were stated in our original grant request.

May 2006: Handouts, slogan, brochure, and kitchen aprons created.
June 2006: “Breakfast with Farmers” held with at least 15 local Food Service Directors
Sept. 2006: Barriers/opportunities identified and addressed; purchasing relationships and farmer deliveries to institutions begin.
Fall 2006: Farm-to-Cafeteria celebration at each selected institution.

Of the above objectives, all have been completed in the initial grant period with the following exceptions. The kitchen apron was dropped due to lack of funding. The brochure will be completed this spring in conjunction with the proposed fact sheet to better meld the two outreach materials from the project. We only completed two of the four Farm-to-Cafeteria celebrations slated for the fall, the other two celebrations will be held this spring to promote early spring crops.

The proposed results that we expected and their measured outcome for the granting periods were as follows:

– Recording attendance and affiliations at “Breakfast with Farmers” event.
– Surveying Food Service Directors (at the Breakfast) about their current interest and perceived ability to purchase more local products for use in their cafeterias.
– Surveying Farmers (at the Breakfast) about their current interest and perceived ability to deliver more local products to local institutions.
– Establishment of Farm-to-Cafeteria relationships for at least 4 local institutions
– Recording of the types and amounts of local products purchased direct or ordered through a supplier by these 4 institutions.
– Recording of the press surrounding the program, as it relates to increased public awareness.

The actual results and accomplishments and their outcomes/impacts are summarized in the following two sections. Each of the above desired results has been measured and we would rate the outcome a great success.



1. Completed “3” organizational set-up meetings at Cornell Cooperative Extension prior to the Breakfast with Farmers event
a. All identified grant cooperators participated representing Cornell University, Seeking Common Ground, Rosecrest Farm, Happy Goat Farm, and Bloomfield Central School District.

2. MAY: Completion of logo and invitation and mailing list
a. 200+ invitations were mailed to local farmers and food service directors, as well as 6 distributors.

3. JUNE: Donation of food and services for Farm to Cafeteria grant sponsored breakfast
a. South Bristol Cultural Center-facility for the event
b. Fiddlehead concepts-reduced catering rate for the event
c. Food donations from 10 farms/orgs including: Happy Goat Farm, McCadam Cheese, Organic Home Delivery, Randall Standish Vineyards, Red Jacket Orchards, Rosecrest Farm, Shimmering Light Farm, Side Hill Acres, Sugarbush Hollow, Bloomfield Central School.
d. Tailored Events – discounted servingware/tableware for the event
e. $200 anonymous cash donation

4. JUNE: Successful breakfast attendance and response to the grants interest survey
a. 9 institutional cafeterias, represented by 12 people
b. 14 local farms, represented by 21 people
c. 1 distributor (FoodLink)
d. 34 attendees + 6 organizers = 40 total participants
e. Presentation by Town of Canandaigua Supervisor, local farmers, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and grant recipient from Seeking Common Ground
f. 24 participants returned interest surveys that were handed out at the breakfast

5. JULY and AUGUST: Successful interviews with farmers and institutions. These interviews were conducted using the Cornell “Farm-to-Cafeteria Assessment Toolkit”.
a. 6 institutional cafeterias were visited and assessed
b. 10 local farmers were visited and assessed
c. All assessment participants expressed interest in moving forward with the program. We summarized: Products that farmers had available, delivery options, and areas served and passed this on to the institutional buyers. We also summarized the buyer contact information and passed that along to the farmers.

6. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER Successful establishment of farmer and institution connections. Farmers and buyers connected to each other independently using the information that we provided to them.
a. We know that at least 6 institutions have established new farm connections and we have received detailed reports from 4 institutions (Thompson Hospital, Victor Central School, Bloomfield Central School, Geneva Central School).
b. We know that at least 6 farms have established new institutional connections and we have received detailed reports from 3 (Pedersen Farms, Barron’s Pratt Barn Vineyard, Gale-Wyn Farms).
c. Summary of NEW local farms sales (consolidated from institutional and farm reports from September – November, 2006. Only 2 reports included November number so this is mainly September and October numbers)
1) Gale-Wyn Farms – $670 (all new)
2) Barron’s Pratt Barn Vineyard – $482.25 (all new)
3) Pedersen Farms – $87.14 (plus another $124.01 in pre-existing sales)
4) Victor Apple Farm – $1224.00 (all new)
5) White’s Farm – $433.30 (all new)
6) Local Foods via Giambrone distributor – $101.37 (all new)
7) Red Jacket Orchards – $748.01 (all new)
8) Local foods via Schlenker Distributors – $331 (plus another $531.45 in pre-existing sales)
TOTAL NEW SALES: $ 4,077.07 reported in NEW sales for Sept-Oct/Nov 2006 based on connections made through the Canandaigua Lake Foodshed: Farm-to-Cafeteria program

d. Summary of new usage of local foods in the 4 reporting institutional cafeterias:
1) Victor Central School – $2146.75 – all new – no known usage of local foods in 2005.
2) Bloomfield Central School – $1351.50 new purchases in Sep-Nov 2006 (total Sept-Nov 2006 usage of 1892.72). 2005 local food purchases for the same time period were $541.35, for an increase in usage of 71.4%.
3) Thompson Health – $491.68 – all new – no known usage of local foods in 2005.
4) Geneva Central School – $87.15 new purchases in Sep-Nov 2006 (total 2006 local foods usage of $1633.65). 2005 local food purchases for the same time period were approximately $1540, for an increase in usage of 4.7%.

7. Celebration of Farm to institution at local schools
a. Naples Central School District-“Day with a Farmer” Celebration
b. Canandaigua Central School District – “Farmer’s Market for Kids!”
c. St. Mary’s School, Canandaigua, NY- Farm-to-School Lunch – Monthly Celebrations (St. Mary’s is not listed above as they did not increase their usage of local foods, they are continuing with their established program.)

8. Successful initial outreach and presentations on the grant project
a. NOFA – NY Conference (2006 – overview of plan/grant proposal)
b. Ontario County Board of Supervisors – Canandaigua, NY
c. New York State Nutrition Association: Finger Lakes Chapter – Manchester, NY
d. New York State Farm-to-School meeting – Rochester, NY
e. Church of the Good Shepherd – Rochester, NY
f. Ontario County Purchasing – they have offered to negotiate/adminster volume purchasing contracts for local schools and county cafeterias.

9. Excellent local and area media coverage of the project
a. 1 article and 1 column in the Canandaigua Daily Messenger
b. 2 articles each in the Naples Record, Honeoye Herald and Victor Herald
c. 1 article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
d. 1 article in New Health Digest (serving Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse areas)
e. 1 article in The Community Trader – Ontario County
f. 1 on-line article on NY Farms! E-list
g. 1 article in Cornell’s Vegedge newsletter

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

· Excellent feedback from farmers and institutions supporting concept and need for program. This has probably been the most fulfilling part of the project (although the most difficult to quantify). Everyone that we speak with about the project and its basis voices support and for what is being done.

· Local, Regional and Statewide interested in the project and its outcomes, as evidenced by local media coverage and our presence and discussions at the ad hoc statewide Farm to Cafeteria meeting in Rochester in the fall of 2006.

· New markets and contacts developed between local farmers and institutions, including strong testimonial support from participants. A sampling here…

Phil Munson/Gale-Wyn Farm, Canandaigua, NY:

“It was great to have new markets developed and ready for me. I worked mostly with Victor Schools, which was real convenient because I delivered on my way to the Victor Farmer’s Market. They were very easy to get along with and placed their orders on time. Over two months the program provided almost $700 in sales that I wouldn’t otherwise have had. The only challenge was that I had worked with Thompson Health to start delivering and then the day of the order they said I had to get a vendor # and I just didn’t have time to follow up on that at that time. It was a little disappointing for both of us, I think.”

Len Barron/Barron’s Pratt Barn Vineyard, Canandaigua, NY:

“Farm-to-Cafeteria has been a very good experience for our vineyard. Great people – organizers and buyers. Flexible delivery schedules. Appreciative customers. Students at one school crowded around me on my way in one day, wanting a pre-taste of the several varieties of seedless grapes that I was delivering. It’s great to get that immediate feedback on your product!”

Janet Elman/Victor Central School District, Victor, NY:

“I just love doing this!! I love talking to the farmers and seeing what they have and meeting them for deliveries. The quality of product is excellent. Ordering and delivery couldn’t be easier. The students love it. My only complaint is that we don’t have a longer growing season. We don’t want it to slow down for the winter!”

· Contact from interested institutions from outside the grant scope wanting to participate. In fact, as word spread about the program locally, we received inquiries from farmers and institutions inside and outside our contact area about the program and potential to participate.

· Still significant potential to increase the local scope to include additional institutions and farmers based on feedback from local institutions and farmers that did not connect through the program this past year. For example, Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua desired to initiate a local, “mini” farmer’s market at the hospital and to use local produce in their cafeteria but the connections were not fully established in 2006. We also know of one substantial vegetable grower and 2 smaller growers, as well as 3 more schools in Ontario County who would like to participate in 2007.

· Strong local support and feedback from families with school-aged children.


Nancy Anderson

[email protected]
Executive Administrative Assistant
Ontario County Cornell Cooperative Extension
480 North Main St.
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Office Phone: 5853943977
Chris Luley

[email protected]
Farmer, Urban Forest Consultant
Happy Goat Farm
6050 Hicks Road
Naples, NY 14512
Office Phone: 5853949460
Pat Pavelsky

[email protected]
Executive Director
Ontario County Cornell Cooperative Extension
480 North Main St.
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Office Phone: 5853943977
Todd Fowler

[email protected]
Food Service Director
Bloomfield Central School District
PO Box 250
Bloomfield, NY 14469
Office Phone: 5856576121
Jennifer Wilkins

[email protected]
Program Director
Cornell Farm-to-School Program
Division of Nutritional Sciences
305 MVR Hall - Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Office Phone: 6072552730
Melinda Kinnear

[email protected]
Rosecrest Farm
2865 Cooley Road
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Office Phone: 5853945918