In the world of farm to institution, collaboration is key. Finger Lakes Farm to Cafeteria (FLFTC) is no stranger to building connections, which has helped expand local procurement at the institutional level throughout Ontario County since 2004. An initiative of Seeking Common Ground in Rochester, FLFTC facilitates lasting relationships between local producers, distributors, and buyers, which has succeeded in an estimated minimum of $35,000 of local food purchased in cafeterias throughout Ontario County. The collaboration also developed a pilot project that explored the feasibility of freezing locally grown broccoli in school cafeterias as a season extension method.
Though school cafeterias are the focus of FLFTC’s work to date, the organization participates in a collaborative of healthcare providers working to make locally grown food more accessible in all institutional cafeterias. In the company of FLFTC, area hospital systems, independent clinics, county health departments, the local food bank (FoodLink), and other healthcare folks meet regularly to move the farm to cafeteria movement forward.