Anchor Food Aggregator

The Background

A number of anchor institutions and other local organizations have come together to create an Anchor Food Aggregator Table, working together to foster a local food initiative in the Eastern GTA. This group consists of education institutions, hospitals, federal government agencies, charitable grant-making organizations, food distribution companies, community development organizations, and food providers.

The impetus for the group emerged from student feedback related to having a variety of food options available on their campuses. Aramark, as a key provider of food for a number of organizations and institutions in the Easter GTA, sources food through economies of scale. On December 2016, the organizations and institutions seized the opportunity to come together to discuss local food availability and a viable business model for procuring local food in a mutually reinforcing relationship. 

The Vision

As anchor institutions, the vision is to procure and provide access to local foods and goods in a consistent and sustainable manner, keeping seasonality and culinary diversities in mind, and promoting community wealth. This would occur by:

  • Increasing awareness of local food and food security through education, student engagement, marketing, events in the community, employment opportunities/expansion of farming operations, etc.; 

  • Creating partnerships with community agencies/members; 

  • Creating relationships with local farmers and institutions for purchasing;  

  • Centralizing a system through anchor partnership for purchasing staple produce items; and 

  • Creating opportunities through technology, coordination, and buying power. 

What is “Local” Food?

The Anchor Food Aggregator Table determined that the concept of “local” can mean something different to each person. For the purpose of this group, local is defined as within 100-200km.