A big part of what we do is connect our network partners and support their work, but we also run our own projects that address specific issues along the farm to institution supply chain. This includes supply chain research, food processing collaboration, food service contract support, farmer wholesale readiness assistance and more. Looking for information specific to schools, colleges, and hospitals? Visit our sector pages >
Rooted in Community
Supported by a $969,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the three-year initiative, Rooted in Community: A localized approach to growing the farm to institution movement in New England, will create a collaborative values-based approach to building a community-based food system that shifts the institutional power dynamics around race.
The three New England communities of Springfield, MA, New Haven, CT, and Cumberland County, ME, will serve as a cohort for shared learning and implementation of farm to institution initiatives in schools, colleges, health care, and the corrections system. The cohort is represented by community-based organizations: Springfield Food Policy Council, Cumberland County Food Security Council, and the City of New Haven Food System Policy Division, all of whom are already driving food systems change at the local level.
We join with you in facing the COVID-19 pandemic with concern, compassion - and action. We have created resources, participated in a national assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on local food systems, hosted numerous forums, and continue to share information as our network shifts and adapts to this global situation.
Farm to Campus
FINE's Farm & Sea to Campus Program aims to increase the amount of local food served in colleges, universities, and residential high schools. We bring together advocates, dining staff, faculty, students, and businesses to spur change in food purchasing patterns, encourage healthy eating, and empower a new generation of food activists.
FINE launched the New England Farm & Sea to Campus Network to serve a community of higher education and food systems stakeholders. To join the network, contact Tania Taranovski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New England Farm & Sea to Campus Data Center is a one stop shop for campuses to share data and generate reports - with a new and improved public-facing dashboard.
FINE's metrics dashboard provides a snapshot of the farm to institution sector in New England. The dashboard shows the scope and impact of food procurement by K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and hospitals. It also shows how these and other types of institutions impact New England food producers and food distributors. Data comes from our own surveys as well as other sources including the USDA Farm to School Census and Census of Agriculture, and Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Health Care Survey.
FINE's Food Service Program is a multi-year effort that aims to inform action by increasing the understanding of how food service management companies work. We also help institutions utilize the request for proposal and contract negotiation processes to increase purchases of local food.
Findings of our research are featured in an online local food purchasing toolkit that includes key recommendations for institutions and advocates!
The toolkit builds on a foundation laid in 2015, when we published two reports on food service management company operations. Next steps include more outreach and engagement to put the toolkit to use.
The New England Local Food Processors’ community of practice (COP) provides a forum for local processors to share information, visit each other’s facilities, and develop collaborative solutions to common problems. The COP is helping representatives from seven New England food processing facilities be better equipped to meet and overcome their challenges, and pass what they are learning to other processors in New England and beyond.
Our goal is to help existing processing facilities become more efficient at processing local produce and meat for institutions and share best practices with new facilities. Participants are learning valuable information about topics like processing equipment, plant design, and food safety.
In March 2018, FINE published a report that outlines four recommendations to enhance collaboration between food hubs and increase the sale of local food to institutions in New England.
In March 2018, FINE convened a policy workgroup comprised of over two dozen stakeholders from across New England to help guide and support FINE's policy initiatives. Nessa Richman, Rhode Island Food Policy Council Network Director, and Sue Anderbois, Rhode Island Director of Food Strategy, chair this workgroup. This past year members of the workgroup have been integral to shaping FINE's policy priorities, including the production of a policy scan and database containing key state legislation impacting institutional procurement of local foods across the region.