Sourcing Local Food
The key to ensuring reliability in a local food system lies in the face-to-face relationships formed between the institution and its individual producers. At Kenyon, the relationships we form with our producers are not mere business transactions; they are friendships built upon integrity, trust, and mutual support. There must be a designated person who goes out and forms these producer relationships; at Kenyon, this is the job of our sustainability director. Our sustainability director works closely with producers during the winter to help them thoroughly systematize their production for the following season, and he is constantly coordinating and communicating with them.
In addition to establishing a consistent and reliable infrastructure for obtaining food locally, food service providers must also be creative and flexible in their local food purchases. As there is no definitive paradigm for local acquisition in a farm-to-college system, an institution must remain patient and persistent; and it must adapt to the unique conditions of their surrounding area. At Kenyon, we have adapted to the distinctiveness of our region and to the opportunities that our area has to offer by working closely with our local produce auctions and our county fair. Both of these opportunities provide us with buying power and a venue for networking, as well as with the opportunity to directly support our local community.