farm to institution in Ohio

Asked August 8, 2013, 11:46 PM EDT

I work with a group of Ohio growers who are interested in connecting to local schools and/or hospitals to sell their produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangement. Are their Ohio-based resources to help these growers with any farm-to-institution models or networks?


1 Response

Farmers with fruit, vegetables and livestock are finding success in selling to local schools, hospitals, and other organizations. Some are using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) arrangement in which businesses (schools, hospitals, etc) purchase multiple shares for employees. Other farmers sell directly to the institution (and some sell through large aggregation/distribution businesses) so the institution can serve the local foods in their cafeterias or foodservice operations.

Ohio (and most states) have excellent resources that can help growers connect with "farm-to-institution" sales. Below are several links to sites with a variety of detailed information: -- The Ohio State University South Centers Small Business Development Center provides no cost, confidential consulting to farmers' market managers, vendors, and producers with a focus on the three main areas of business: marketing, management, and money. Contact: Christie Welch, Farmers' Market Specialist, OSU South Centers at 740-289-2071 Ext. 234 or 1-800-297-2072 (Ohio Only) or – offers information on marketing your produce, etc., to farm markets, grocery’s, etc. Click on “Business Resources” for a series of podcasts on selling products Or click on “Topics of Interest” and then “farm markets” for a presentations. - offers great “networking” opportunities to see what others are doing and talking about on the issue.

Ohio Cottage Industry (Food Safety) -

For the organic certification steps, please see our fact sheet: --

The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association provides great information for small farmers. They have a toolbox at

In addition, here are links to research reports from the Direct Marketing Team.

Ohio Direct Marketing Survey Research Report:

Ohio Direct Marketing Case Study Report:

Ohio MarketMaker Survey Report: Options for selling value added foods: A business plan will help you with next steps as you move from informal marketing to more formal marketing.

The Small business Development Network has local consultants that can help you with that and access to local financing Local Offices -

Great resources -

I hope these are helpful. Please feel free to email me back or ring my office should you have additional questions. 937-440-3945.
Best regards, Brian