Luther College is currently going through production planning with local producers for the 2012-13 growing season. This production planning is specifically geared towards fruits/vegetables.
Dining services has collected all produce purchasing data (11/1/10-10/31/11) from Sysco, Luther Gardens and Grown Locally to come up with monthly volume and pricing information. Pricing, consistency and availability of product/predictable markets have been issues for Luther and for local producers. It has been difficult for local producers to figure out how to set fair prices, just as it has been difficult for Luther to not have the agreed upon volumes/prices for planning/budgeting purposes. Our hope is that all parties will benefit from this production planning process and from the commitments that will come out of it.
Currently Grown Locally Cooperative is the only Sodexo-approved group of fruit/vegetable growers so we will go through the process with them first. Aggregation is the key to meeting the high volumes purchased by Dining Services.
We require that all medium/high risk product needs to arrive at the Luther dock in a refrigerated vehicle. Grown Locally has partnered with Sysco Iowa on this piece. If you do not wish to become a Sodexo-approved vendor, one option is to broker product through Grown Locally. Other options may become available in the future.