Food choices: What happens when institutional cafeterias switch to local, fresh ingredients




Impact of local institutions sourcing their ingredients from the local fresh ingredients farms

  • Influence to the local economy
  • Reduced waste
  • Reduced cost and increased saving
  • Reshaping of supply chain
  • Source of safety and health standards
  • Creation of employment


The farm to institution local foods mainstreaming is normally a broad topic. Farm to institution is the most recognized way of sourcing by different institutions such as the prisons, universities, military barracks and hospitals. It is the role of the sourcing and procurement department in this institution to ensure safety and health standards of the food ingredients supplied to the cafeterias of these institutions (Brian, 2012). The most influential aspect of food procurement for institutions cafeterias is the cafeteria connection that inspires and educates the people concerned.  The chefs and the cooks in these cafeterias must put into consideration the nutritional factors of the food ingredients sourced from the local farm suppliers. The role of this work is to illustrate what would happen if institutional cafeterias such as hospitals, prisons and schools switch to the local fresh ingredients.

Institutional cafeterias have the potential to influence the local economy and that of the state at large through their sourcing of the fresh ingredients from the locals. In order for the food cafeterias to source their ingredients from the local farm vendors, the vendors must meet strict food safety standards. They must be reliable vendors with enough capital to supply the necessary ingredients to the institutions consistently throughout the year (Wendy, 2016). If the institutional cafeterias were to switch to the local food ingredients it would be a unifying network between the institutions and the community. It is the responsibility of every institution to ensure social responsibility in its dealing. Therefore, by these institutions sourcing their food ingredients from the local farms and vendors it would be one way of supporting the local community both socially and economically. By different institutional cafeterias sourcing their ingredients from the local farm would enable these institutions to get grants from the various donors.  If the hospitals, businesses and military barracks began to source food ingredients from the local farms, they would create exciting economical activities from these farms in order for them to expand and establish a ready market for the farm produce (George, 2010). The rapid growth of the farm and cafeteria network across the world in the last decade is a proof that when the community comes together in their day to day activities there is the possibility of great things being achieved.

As versatile impact of cafeteria sourcing large volumes of food is a great idea as it had a great impact on waste foods from the kitchen and from the farms. The topic of waste food has gain a great momentum across the world in the modern times. According to the natural resources defense council, about forty percent of the American foods from the landfills end up rotting in the farms hence contributing to methane gas emission (George, 2010). As a matter of fact, in different cafeteria from hospitals, schools and other business organizations may switch their food ingredient sourcing to the local sourcing they would solve  the problem of food wastage especially during volatile weather as these institutions have constant demand of food supply throughout the year. Moreover, methane gas emitted from rotting food from the local farms would eventually be eliminated or reduced altogether.

By the institutional cafeterias sourcing their food ingredients from the local farms, they would increase their income from the cost saving. Given that there are a variant of fresh ingredients which may be sourced from the local farms, the cafeterias would be in position to increase their sales as the fresh ingredients would be appealing to the consumers which would eventually increase the institutions local purchase (Brian, 2012). The increased local purchase for the local fresh farm ingredients would be appealing to the farm vendors as their income would increase and these would enable them to produce different ingredients according to the customers taste and preferences.

Sourcing of food by the institutional vendors from the local ingredients would be one step towards reshaping the supply chain system.  By the institutional cafeterias switching to local farm ingredients would be a great achievement towards adoption of efficient and effective channels of distribution. When institutional cafeteria source from the outside suppliers there are many bureaucracies associated with it such as delayed supply and sometime supply of spoilt food. With adoption of the local farm fresh ingredients, the institutional cafeterias would be in position to ensure freshness in the supply chain. In addition, the process would eliminate the supply chain associated problems such as: delayed supply and spoilt ingredients (George, 2010). Through this strategy the cafeteria shall be in position to retain their customers because they will be reliable in their supply and distribution system.

Food as medicine in the cafeteria has become a great phenomenon in the present world.  The institutional cafeterias have the role of using as the medicine for the local consumers by ensuring that the food meets the health standards. Sourcing from the local farm ingredients would enable these cafeterias to offer food that is of balance diet (Wendy, 2016).  As part of the health standard, the institutional cafeteria has a role ensuring that they supply ingredients which eliminate health risks and hazards to their consumers. The fresh food ingredients supplied from the local farms would in most probably provide the appropriate ingredients meeting the balance diet standards.

The institutional cafeteria switching their sourcing to the local fresh farm ingredients would create employment for both the cooks and the local farmers.  In conclusion, cafeteria institution switching their sourcing to the local farm ingredient sourcing goes beyond eating fresh ingredient towards providing money for the local economy (Wendy, 2016). The process is all about creating a strong relationship with the local community and showing the future generation that where the food comes from matters to the producers, our health and the planet.






Brian, M. (2012). Farm to Institution: Creating Access to Healthy Local and Regional Foods. Advances in nutritional journal. Vol. 2(1), 343-349.

Wendy, H. (2016). Farm to Institution: Mainstreaming Local Foods. Retrieved from:

George, A. (2010). Corporate and Educational Cafeterias Build Sustainable local farm fresh ingredients. New York publishers.


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