Report outlines local food support by restaurants and institutions

By KBJR News 1

April 8, 2014 Updated Apr 9, 2014 at 7:36 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Looking to support more local food? A new report by The Institute for a Sustainable Future outlines ways restaurants and institutions can do just that.

The report titled: 20 percent by 2020, A Local Purchasing Toolkit, is the first regional directory of producers currently supplying the largest institutions and restaurants in our region.
It results from a recent consumer survey indicating a high level of interest in local foods.

"Local has its benefits because you also know where your food is coming from. You know the farmers. So, it provides a whole level of assurance from a food safety standpoint, which likely translates into economic benefits over long term as well" said Executive Director for Institute for a Sustainable Future, Jamie Harvie.

The information in the report shows strategies for restaurants and institutions to better market and support local foods. A list of local farms and food producers is included.

"A restaurant's a busy place. The food service directors, the chefs need to have a regular supply and they need to have producers and local food businesses that can keep up a regular volume and supply, so this list is a sort of a starting point for that" said Harvie.

If there is one restaurant that shows that going local works, it's the Duluth Grill. It's already surpassed 20 percent by 2020 and keeps pushing for more. Owners say it's all in the name of health.

"The industry has gone too far for simply profit. We need to really consider that food service is what we sustain life with. It's about nutrition and quite honestly there's a whole generation that I'm really concerned about" said Co-Owner of the Duluth Grill, Tom Hanson.

Restaurants aren't the only ones that can go local. The report addresses institutions like hospitals and schools. Northland College is one of the named successful institutions.

"Last year we reached a goal of 25 percent local foods on average for the school year. Our high was 40 percent. Our goal is 80% over time" said Northland College Food Service Director, Amanda Tutor.

The authors of the report hope to inspire more restaurants, institutions, and even consumers to continue to invest in the local food movement.

If you'd like to check out the report Click Here

Bryce Henry