“Institutional food purchasing should be framed around the formation of strong and resilient local social, professional, and business networks.”
-- Ken Meter and Megan Phillips Goldenberg, Crossroads Resource Center
Cluster development - the creation of strong local, agricultural, economic networks including producers, processors and distributors - depends on the establishment of reliable, comfortable local connections. The limiting factor for farmers who wish to sell to local markets is often whether a purchaser will continue buying from them - even when somewhat lower-cost items are available from farther away.
Ideally, food purchasing should incorporate strong, resilient, local, social, professional, and business networks…operating profitably, able to plan for the future and capable of responding to changing local conditions.