Farmers ask Joie Schoonover, Director of Dining Services, Division of University Housing at UW-Madison, questions about how institutions purchase local food during the IFM Meeting "Grow and Sell Produce for Large Volume Wisconsin Buyers" in February, 2010.

Sell Local

Three Ways to Sell Into the Institutional Market

Wisconsin producers have many options to access the institutional market. Which is right for you? Read about them here, and find information about everything from food safety to yield data in the general resources section, below.

1. Sell Directly to Institutions

Some institutions buy farm direct. Smaller and private institutions are more likely to have this flexibility. Download our factsheets to learn more about who food service directors are and how to contact them about your products:

2. Sell Through a Local Produce Aggregator

Produce auction cooperatives and companies that represent many growers, such as Simply Wisconsin or Green and Green, offer another way to sell into this market. Visit these websites to learn if selling this way works for you:

3. Sell to a Distributor

Check out our fact sheet, Working With Distributors, and see Distributor Profiles of Wisconsin distributors that purchase local produce and value-added products. Every distributor has different specifications and their own process for working with growers. Another resource is this sample product specification sheet – it will help you understand the detailed information a distributor may want about your produce.

General Resources

Packaging for large volume buyers
Food Safety – what you need to know

While many institutions do not require local growers to have Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, most will want a written food safety plan. Distributors are more likely to require GAP of all growers.

Insurance information
Loans and Grants
Business development help
Product budgets
Yield data