Bringing Farm Fresh Food To Local Institutions

Bringing Farm Fresh Food To Local Institutions

Bringing Farm Fresh Food To Local Institutions

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Yesterday we spoke with Slow Money Northwest’s Japhet Koteen about Slow Money Northwest partnering with several local organizations on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to connect Washington grown food with local institutions. Today Koteen talks about some of the partners on the grant and the components that make up the project.

KOTEEN: A number of the partners on this grant are institutions, so we have the Kent School District, University of Washington Medical Center, Educare, which is a child care operator, and they have already committed to making certain volume purchases.

Koteen says that the project is really made up of several components.

KOTEEN: The first is what we’re calling a “pilot project” where these institutions and a set of other suppliers that include 21 Acres and Viva Farms as the producer side and then these institutions on the consumers side - and so we’re mapping the local production through the needs of the institutions. So we highlight each challenge as we go through the pilot project partners. Slow Money’s work is primarily to document this and then identify areas of productive investments.

Koteen explains what happens next

KOTEEN: What happens after that is there’s $5 million on the table that Robert Wood Johnson Foundation would like to employ in terms of low interest loans to support the growth of these industries. We are interested in finding those producers, aggregators, distributors that are looking to scale the service market.

Koteen reports that private investors, foundations, and institutional investors are eager to invest in this market, but that there is a shortage of high quality investment deals, and that surveys show there is at least $40 million of capitol that is interested in flowing into this sector.


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network. 

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