Conference on Sustainable Food Procurement by Institutions
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Name Title Affiliation  
Sean Dimin Co-Founder Sea to Table The UM Conference for Sustainable Food Procurement by Institutions brought together thought leaders from across the supply chain from producers and harvesters to certifying bodies and large purchasers all in the effort to open up dialogue and communication to further scale good food.
Patrick Dixon Research Analyst Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor The University of Michigan's inaugural conference on Sustainable Food Procurement by Institutions was an exciting and groundbreaking event, bringing together purchasers, directors of dining, head chefs, sustainability advocates, and catering and agricultural concerns in the pursuit of a better approach to food provision at colleges and universities. It was a great opportunity to connect the dots between the challenges faced by different actors in the supply chain at universities from across the United States.
Liz Kennedy VP Corporate Responsibility IMG College Licensing I'm not a food practitioner, but I'm happy to share that the insights presented at the conference helped me to see mutual challenges and opportunities in Sustainability through a different lens. This creates more possible pathways to overcome obstacles and create more achievable solutions.
Eric Montell Executive Director Stanford Dining I found this event to be both educational and informative. The rapid fire panel sessions were engaging and there good opportunities in the overall program to develop new partnerships.
Christine Quane Regional Food Hub Director Eastern Market - Detroit This was a great opportunity to network with professionals up and down the food service value chain as to the opportunities, challenges and best practices that support sustainability, health and wellness in the communities we all serve.
Thomas Stebbins Executive Chef Beaumont Hospital - Dearborn The food industry has not changed in a very long time, people rarely ask or care where their food comes from and what impact it has on the environment. We have to start asking questions and getting involved in the process. Colleges have a great amount of students being taught to ask questions and wanting change and they can really start pushing for better food and lead in making improvements. What I hope comes from events like this is the ability to get this knowledge out to everyone. It won't be fixed overnight but it can start going in the right direction. Bringing lots of people with good ideas together like this event really can speed up improvements and create solutions to problems that seem so complicated. Thank you so much for putting on this conference and I hope to attend more in the future.
Matthew Wooten Senior Analyst Fair Food Standards Council "Over the last 25 years, universities have rejected garment sweatshop conditions to become leaders in ethical sourcing for licensed apparel. Similarly, educational institutions they are well-positioned to leverage their market demand to ensure that low-wage workers at the bottom of agricultural supply chains enjoy basic labor protections. The University of Michigan’s Conference on Sustainable Food Procurement by Institutions revealed how universities are increasingly recognizing the importance of these issues to their student bodies and looking to further align their procurement practices with their institutional values. Voluntary, unenforceable labor certification standards cannot offer these protections, and thus fail to provide institutions with the assurance and transparency needed to ensure that the food they serve is free of forced labor, child labor, sexual harassment, and other common abuses. Tragically, many studies have shown how most labor rights certification models actually endanger workers who attempt to make rights claims where no meaningful protections exist. Although no existing certification scheme can immediately provide an institution with deep labor rights protections across the diversity of commodities that it sources, the Fair Food Program and other Worker-Driven Social Responsibility (WSR) initiatives are exciting, proven examples of how coordinated buyer demand can create the conditions needs to transform the lives of the most vulnerable workers in global supply chains. These programs' unique mix of monitoring tools and enforcement power are already providing tens of thousands of farmworkers with unparalleled human rights protections, and they are expanding steadily with the growing support of more than a dozen food industry leaders, from McDonald’s to Walmart. UM Dining is already driving innovation in environmental sustainability, waste reduction, and experiential education. The Fair Food Program looks forward to exploring concrete possibilities for collaboration to help further Michigan’s position as a leader of sustainable food justice in higher education.”
Josh Wroniewicz Director of Purchasing University of Richmond This was a great event to meet other professionals facing the same Sustainability and Purchasing issues I see every day. The speakers and the panels were very informative, and I learned a lot. I look forward to the next conference.


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