Just Cut: Farm-to-Institution Supply Chain Facilitation
Since 2012, the CAE has been moving local produce to institutional markets. We aggregate and process root and storage crops to advance farm viability and food accessibility for all.
Just Cut is a social enterprise of the Center for Agricultural Economy and an essential connection between food growers and buyers. We purchase, inspect, wash, prepare and deliver Vermont-grown produce to kitchens both large and small. By partnering with local farmers, food buyers across New England, and a regional delivery network, we help ensure the viability of Vermont’s working landscapes and provide greater accessibility of high-quality produce to all markets.
Just Cut emphasizes authenticity, value, and efficiency in your selling or buying experience. We help foster a deeper understanding of your important place in the success of our regional food system. We make it easy for buyers to support local farmers while offering peak taste, freshness, and nutrition in prepared meals. When you choose Just Cut, you are investing in the health and well-being of the people who grow your food and the people who eat your food. To learn more or order justcutcae.org for more details.
In partnership with Vermont farms and institutional buyers who are prioritizing fresh and local products, CAE acts as food hub and processor, working with Farm Connex and local distribution partners to move our products across New England!
Our goals for this program are twofold:
1. We strive to provide a fair price to our farmers, and pay in a timely fashion, with the aim of diversifying their markets into institutional food service settings.
2. We work with values-based institutional buyers, to help leverage their buying power to support our working landscapes, and to reach the constituents and consumers who eat in their cafeterias and dining halls.
Want to learn more? Check out Farm to Institution New England's short video (below) about local food processing at the Vermont Food Venture Center and throughout our region! Episode 2 of The Local Motive also explores the relationship between the processing of local food and the financial viability of the local food system.zx
The CAE Farm-to-Institution Program began in 2012, during the first few years of the Vermont Food Venture Center (VFVC) operating in Hardwick. Its initial projects were co-packing arrangements in which local farms contracted the VFVC to minimally process and package their produce for the wholesale market. This relationship gave local farms the opportunity to produce new value-added products that they in turn sold and delivered directly to institutions and other wholesale buyers.
As demand for these products increased and more farms employed the program’s services the leadership at CAE sought new ways to streamline and improve the experience for producers and buyers. In 2015 the CAE Farm-to-Institution Program formally changed to Just Cut, which in addition to maintaining its role as food processor also became the sole distributor – sales and delivery – of these goods.
This shift allowed Just Cut to expand its reach to larger institutions and to strategize with farmers on the best crops to grow to efficiently meet this increased demand.
Farm to Institution Program Manager