Residential and Dining Enterprise’s Sustainable Food Program recently launched the Farm Accelerator, a program that supports the regional foodshed with direct purchasing commitments. The program is designed to create an innovative business model supporting three small, local farms plus the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a non-profit that trains U.S. veterans to run farms, in helping them to create a viable organic farming business. The three-year startup model includes a commitment from Stanford to purchase most of the produce grown on these farms, allowing them to grow and become established businesses. After three years, R&DE hopes to expand the program by adding three more emerging farms.
Local farms are critical partners for R&DE Stanford Dining, which has emphasized the direct institutional CSA model relationships across it's purchases. In 2016, the group purchased approximately 67,000 pounds of organic produce directly from a local farm, Pie Ranch. For the past two years, R&DE Stanford Dining has had a direct relationship with Coke Farm, a local, organic farm and farm hub that sources from about 50 small and medium-sized local farms. R&DE also buys approximately 14,000 pounds of produce from the O’Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm annually for a farm-to-campus program.