King County hospitals, schools and childcare facilities are currently spending an estimated $75 million on food purchases, and engage almost all of the county’s 116,000 low-income children at least once a day. Yet most of this food comes from outside of Washington state.
Recognizing this as a major opportunity for regional farmers to increase their sales and to combat childhood obesity, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened a collaborative project last spring to research how to increase the consumption of healthy, Washington grown food in King County institutions.
The research provides a market analysis of King County institutions and the food production industry, assessing the challenges and opportunities for each market segment. It looks at how to align financing, proposing potential funding mechanisms and partnerships as well as technical information to help stakeholders effectively engage.
The final report, Farm-to-Institution Strategies: Impact investing in health and economic development through the value chain of healthy regional food in the Puget Sound region, is now available for public download. If you are a farmer or practioner, you will find data to support finding investments or grants for your work. If you are an investor, you will find supply and demand data and a sample portfolio of deals to determine how to effectively target your money.
For more information about the project and highlights from the report, visit Cascade Harvest Coalition’s website.The Farm-to-Institution Strategies report is part of a collaborative project involving the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Cascade Harvest Coalition, Slow Money Northwest, Public Health – Seattle & King County, Washington State Department of Agriculture Farm-to-School Program, Health Care Without Harm, Northwest Agriculture Business Center, Viva Farms, FareStart, Kent School District, UW Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center and Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) Educare Early Learning Center.