Jars of tomatoes (Jason Janelle/Flickr)
Health Care Without Harm has been working in partnership with over a dozen hospitals, colleges, K-12 schools, and non-profit organizations to develop the New England Food Processors’ Collective. Currently, in its early stages of development, the collective will enable local food processors to share services such as sourcing of local produce, marketing and promotion, and distribution. In doing so they will increase ease of access for institutions and scale the availability of their local products to a nearly year-round basis.
The three businesses currently participating in the collective are Commonwealth Kitchen, Western Mass Food Processing Center, and the Vermont Food Venture Center. Together they offer a diverse selection of lightly processed produce sourced from New England farmers at a fair price. Their offerings include, but are not limited to, apple sauce from “rescued” apples, frozen blueberries, and fresh diced and chopped root vegetables. All processors currently sell to institutions and are excited to scale their capacity and improve the efficiency of their operations. Once the collective is established, the aim is to expand the number of processors involved to increase the diversity of available products.
The business plan for the collective is underway and we anticipate a full launch of the enterprise in 2020. In the interim, we are thrilled to be working with partners like Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, River Woods Retirement Community, and Boston Children’s Hospital to pilot various elements of the project.