In the United States, the farm to school movement has recently spread from fringe and grassroots to mainstream. As schools expand their participation, there is a rapidly growing demand to scale up food distribution. Yet, in the rush to support “farm” and “school,” the supply chain, made up of the aggregation, processing, distribution, and logistics services, has been overlooked. Paying attention to the ways in which the standard model is incongruent with goals of the movement incites possibilities for new types of supply chain that reorient from profit and efficiency toward regional economy and transparency. This article elucidates a cooperative framework consisting of three primary aims: sustain the values of the movement; successfully scale up food distribution, expanding access to local, nutritious food; and support the negotiations needed to achieve individual and collective goals. This university/community collaboration evinces the great potential for cooperatives to play a significant role in future supply chain partnerships.
Fostering Multiple Goals in Farm to School
Alexandra Lakind is a joint PhD student in Environmental Studies and Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She holds an MA in Education from New York University and has worked for many years in environmental studies, education, and the arts. Her research interests encompass a wide range of organizational designs that support democratic decision-making and community resiliency.
Lihlani Skipper, formerly Program Associate with the National Farm to School Network, is currently a Program Officer at Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems. She holds a BA from Harvard and an MS from University of Wisconsin–Madison in Agroecology and Urban and Regional Planning. She is interested in sustainable community development, food systems planning, and, in particular, farm to institution programs.
Alfonso Morales is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at University of Wisconsin–Madison. He advocates and consults on food systems and marketplaces. His USDA-supported work assists farmers market managers in understanding and reporting on their markets. He carries out applied research on economic development, law and society, and public health. His research on these topics includes four books, eighty publications, in Spanish and English, and speaking events nationally and internationally.
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Alexandra Lakind, Lihlani Skipper, Alfonso Morales; Fostering Multiple Goals in Farm to School. Gastronomica 1 November 2016; 16 (4): 58–65. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2016.16.4.58
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