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Institutional Food Buying Alliance & Project


The Institutional Food Buyers Alliance 
is now
The Northwest Food Buyers Alliance

Management of the project is transitioning from Multnomah County to Ecotrust. Check back for more details and a new website in the first quarter of 2015. Contact Stacey Sobell ( or John Wasiutynski (john.wasiutynski@multco.uswith questions.




 meeting archive
Summer Meeting
Thursday, July 17, 2014 


The summer meeting will be held at OMSI!

1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214

 9 to 11 am 




 Join the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Multnomah County and the Institutional Food Buying Alliance for the Summer Buyers Meeting, July 17th! The meeting will include netoworking, marketing tips, and a behind the scenes tour of OMSI. Large institutions in our region spend millions of dollars each year on food purchases. By leveraging this tremendous buying power we have the opportunity to support the local food economy, protect health and the environment, and create jobs. Please register online for the meeting. 



Check out the 2013 Farm Tours and Cullinary Training updates HERE!

We traveled far and wide this summer, getting a chance to get our hands (or at least our shoes) a little dirty with the soil that produces our wonderfully delicious Oregon grown food. From farm to processor to distributor we made the rounds on how food gets from our productive fields to our working kitchens. Thanks to our great tour hosts – Organically Grown CompanySiri and Son FarmNorpac, and Stahlbush Island Farms. A break between the tours led us into the kitchens of the Oregon Convention Center, for a day of culinary training, recipe development, and networking.


Large institutions in Multnomah County and our region spend millions of dollars each year on food purchases. Through this tremendous buying power we have the opportunity to support the local food economy and create jobs.

The Institutional Food Buyers Alliance will help shape the health, economy, environment, and social equity of our community through collective action

Multnomah County's Office of Sustainability along with our project partners, Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility are convening a broad group of organizations including universities, schools, hospitals, corrections facilities, senior centers and business campuses to discuss current efforts to procure local food and the opportunities for leveraging our collective buying power to support local agriculture. Institutions outside of Multnomah County but within the Metro region are welcome to participate.





The Multnomah Food Action Plan, adopted by the community and Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in January 2011, includes 65 actions for a more prosperous, equitable and healthy local food system. Action 15.4 provides the directive to "Establish a regional alliance of institutional purchasers."
The goal of this alliance is to increase the health of our community, support the local food economy, and create jobs by promoting the purchase of local food by large institutional organizations. This effort is not limited to just Multnomah County. In fact we encourage institutions within the Portland Metro Region and in Clackamas, Washington, and Clark Counties to participate. This alliance of regional food buyers will benefit from participation by:


  • Reducing barriers for institutional purchasers to buy local food
  • Developing shared and consistent model procurement language
  • Develop a set of purchasing goals, metrics, and best practices
  • Leverage the purchasing power of our institutions to drive the market to develop more supply of local food

The Institutional Food Buying Project

Funding for educational sessions, product tours, and technical assistance provided by Oregon Department of Agriculture. Through funding support from Oregon Department of Agriculture, MCOS and OPSR will coordinate institutional food buyers through a regional network to create an increased, consistent demand for Oregon Specialty Crops (fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts) and send strong market signals to producers and suppliers to increase supply.

Building on the local and sustainable purchasing work local hospitals have accomplished through OPSR's Healthy Food in Health Care Project, we will provide technical support and tailored tools to help institutions baseline current buying practices and map the purchasing pathways of all participating organizations. The grant will also provide Oregon Specialty Crop-focused education opportunities as well as ongoing technical assistance to buyers and suppliers.

Additional Background
The Multnomah County of Sustainability acted as a convener in our community over a two-year planning process to develop a shared food system vision, goals and actions to achieve the vision. The outcome is the Multnomah Food Action Plan (Plan) which is a 15-year roadmap to creating a healthy, equitable, and prosperous local food system through collaborative community action. Action 15.4 of the Plan calls for the development of a Regional Alliance of Institutional Purchasers. On June 3rd, the Office of Sustainability hosted the 2nd Annual Food Summit where a workshop led by Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack’s Office invited key institutional purchasing stakeholders to discuss this action. All of the attendees committed to working on this issue.

The Office of Sustainability wrote HB 2763 which was co-sponsored by Representatives Clem and Cannon and enacted into law in 2009 which authorizes state and local governments to prefer local food in their procurements for the first time. Building upon that authorization and other institutions’ desire to buy more local food, we feel that the time is now to build an alliance of institutional purchasers that operate using standard purchasing language and metrics.

*If you are interested in learning more about instituional food buying, the buying local project, or the alliance, please fill out this interest form: Institutional Food Buying Alliance and Project Interest Form

Resources for Instituional Buyers

FoodHub, a social venture project of Ecotrust, is a dynamic marketplace and online directory that makes it easy and efficient for professional wholesale food buyers and sellers to research, connect, and do business.

Resources for the Instituional Food Buying Alliance are made available by FoodHub’s Knowledge Base which includes tools, resources, and thought leadership in reagional food.

Click here to access Farm to School/Institution Resources
Access a vast library of guidance on getting started, finding funding, developing menus, executing RFPs, starting school gardens, learning about legislation and policy.

Specific tools for Food Service Directors include: 

  • Menu Planning
  • Procurement
  • Marketing Your Program
  • Food Safety

Other tools include:

  • School Wellness Policies
  • Success Stories
  • Evaluation Materials
  • Funding Resources
  • Information on Legislation & Policy

Click here to access Farm to Hospital Resources
Access a wide variety of information and resources regarding efforts to bring regional food into hospital foodservice operations.

Click here to access Farm to Food Bank Resources
For emergency food assistance organizations, learn about developing relationships with farmers, running successful volunteer gleaning programs, building out your program based on successful existing models and more.

Past Alliance Meeting Materials

Kick-Off Meeting: January 2013 Agenda

Kick-Off Meeting: January 2013 Presentation

Kick-Off Meeting: January 2013 Notes

Spring 2013 Meeting: Agenda

Spring 2013 Meeting: Presentation

Spring 2013 Meeting: Notes