Minnesota Farm to Institution Markets

A 2014 Producer Survey Snapshot

Aimed at improving access to and profitability from Minnesota’s farm to institution markets (i.e. schools, hospitals, child care centers, etc.) for Minnesota producers, the survey engaged 142 producers operating in 56 counties in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota. It was a joint project of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the Sustainable Farming Association and Renewing the Countryside – with input from over 15 organizations, agencies and farms.

Approximately 29% of respondents reported institutional sales in 2013 – including schools, hospitals, universities/colleges, child care providers, & elderly care providers.

More than 75% were interested in selling their products to institutions in the future

  • 46% of those selling to institutions were selling to K-12schools – followed by universities/colleges (29%) and hospitals (23%)
  • 34% of respondents were “very interested” in selling to universities in the future – followed by hospitals (31%). There was also “interest” in continued or future sales to K-12 schools (42%), adult/elderly care (34%) centers, child care centers (31%), hospitals (31%) and preschools (28%).


What Tools Producers Want to Improve

Farm to Institution Sales

  1. Business planning advice specific to starting or expanding institutional sales
  2. Aggregation setup information and support (e.g. food hub, cooperative, etc.)
  3. Food safety training and support
  4. Advance purchasing needs for regional institutions (i.e. what’s needed and when)
  5. Regional institution contacts/ directories
  6. Institution-specific product specification sheets/checklists