Responsible Purchasing Network

Sustainable Food

grapes

Whether you're looking to procure sustainable, local, or fair trade food, RPN has resources to help you find products that meet your needs.

Institutional purchasing contracts are a useful tool to help scale up demand for — and production of — local and sustainable food in the region. Furthermore, specifying fair trade products like coffee, tea, sugar, and cocoa, not only protect the environment but also are produced in ways that provide fair wages and working conditions.

 

 

RPN Resources

new england food report

Local and Sustainable Food Procurement by New England State Governments: Barriers and Recommendations – Nov 2013

Under a grant from the John Merck Fund, RPN identified best practices for institutional purchasing of local food in the New England region. Though the complexity of fresh food purchasing can form barriers to large-scale change, a behind-the-scenes look at food purchasing allowed RPN to provide recommendations for overcoming each challenge.

The recommendations are intended for purchasing officials to implement, but are explained in a way that is accessible for advocates and inside institutional champions such as State Departments of Agriculture.

Download the report


fair trade cities guide

Fair Trade Purchasing Guide for Cities and Towns - July 2013

This guide covers everything municipalities might need to know to add fair trade-certified coffee, tea, sugar, and cocoa to their contracts. 

The guide includes:

  • Recommended fair trade policy language;

  • Relevant certifications and definitions;

  • Model bid specifications, vendor questions, and contract language for targeted commodities and food service agreements; and

  • Strategies for securing attractive pricing and a wide selection of fair trade goods.

Download the report


fair trade colleges guide

Fair Trade Purchasing Guide for College and University Food Service Purchasers - July 2013

This guide is designed for purchasing agents on higher education campusesStudent advocacy groups often promote the purchase of fair trade goods, but they may not be familiar with contracting strategies that can help their institution successfully identify and add these products to their contracts.

The guide includes:

  • Recommended fair trade policy language;

  • Relevant certifications and definitions;

  • Model bid specifications, vendor questions, and contract language for targeted commodities and food service agreements; and

  • Strategies for securing attractive pricing and a wide selection of fair trade goods.

Download the report


 

Webinars

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RPN Webinar: Local and Sustainable Food Procurement: Best Practices of Northeastern State Governments - April 9, 2014

Is your state government interested in expanding purchase of locally and sustainably farmed agricultural products? Creating markets for these products can contribute to the regional economy, preserve farmland, and support a thriving, healthy food system.

Listen in to an RPN webinar supported by the John Merck Fund that highlights best practices developed in the New England region to foster state government procurement of local and sustainable food.

This webinar covered strategies to:

  • Structure contracts to best encourage local offerings;

  • Work with vendors over time to increase local purchasing;

  • Support distributors that source produce from the region; and

  • Use policy to build greater vendor accountability.

This webinar featured:

  • Mark Curran, Black River Produce, Vermont

  • Mark Izeman, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York

  • Jane Slupecki, Department of Agriculture, State of Connecticut

  • Sarah Church, Research Analyst, RPN (moderator)

Download the slides

Download the video


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RPN Webinar: Sustainability in a Cup: Institutional Procurement of Fair Trade - Oct 17, 2013

Is your jurisdiction or organization looking for sustainable products that are not only designed to protect the environment but are also produced in ways that provide fair wages and working conditions? This webinar highlights two fair trade purchasing guides that can help you fulfill your commitment to sustainability by sourcing products that are fair trade-certified by third party organizations. In partnership with Fair Trade Campaigns, RPN produced two guides tailored to two different audiences: 1) cities and towns and 2) colleges and universities.

This webinar covered:

  • An overview of fair trade practices;

  • An analysis of a fair trade supply chain;

  • Relevant certifications and definitions;

  • Recommended fair trade policy language;

  • Model bid specifications, vendor questions, and contract language for targeted commodities and food service agreements;

  • Strategies for securing competitive pricing and a wide selection for fair trade goods – starting with coffee, tea, sugar, and cocoa.
This webinar featured:
  • Courtney Lang, National Organizer, Fair Trade Towns

  • Sarah Church, Food Policy Specialist, RPN

Download the slides

Download the video