Action area 5: Procurement

Public and anchor institutions’ procurement of local agroecological products has increased manifold

Large public sector and anchor institutions can have a vital role to play in both creating a substantial market for local growers and farmers AND getting more healthy local food onto people’s plates in the region. Current work in this area is often led by local Sustainable Food Places partnerships. It ranges from setting up food hubs to pave the way for more coordinated supply, distribution and procurement mechanisms, through to engaging with local anchor institutions to better understand their current procurement arrangements and how these could be developed to better support local producers. 

In order to take this work to the next level there is a need to gather and raise awareness of good practice case studies to help anchors understand what is possible and provide them with practical advice and guidance on how to transition. This could take the form of a toolkit which explores the barriers and opportunities for change. Other actions that were identified as being helpful included developing a clear Manifesto or other definition of important terms such as ‘local’ and ‘sustainable’ in order to counter greenwashing by large corporates. Mapping quick wins, for example by exploring what we already produce that could easily be put into the supply chain, and running a pilot with 3 or 4 key products were also felt to be important. 

To address these challenges, our strategy outlines the following steps:

Our goal: Public and anchor institutions’ procurement of local agroecological products has increased manifold. 

Desired outcomes:

  • More supply chain collaborations exist. 
  • Public procurement in leading local authorities shifts to local produce.
  • More agroecological farms exist.

Example activities that were identified as supporting these immediate outcomes – and which should therefore be urgent priorities for funding – are as follows:

  • Facilitating value chain collaborations within pulses, grains, and meat sectors.
  • Supporting those networks that facilitate routes to market for agroecological produce. 
  • Running a public procurement network in the North of England programme.