Bon Appetit Management Co has developed a guide for aspiring student farmers to help them build good business relationships with nearby college food service providers. The guide will be made available to students in garden groups all over the country and on the company's website.
The company is hooking onto a trend, which has seen students flocking to farm internship programs. Meanwhile, an increasing number of campuses have made land available for student use while college foodservice providers have shown increasing willingness to purchase student-grown produce.
"It is imperative that we support the development of our future farmers by making it possible for student gardeners to succeed," says Bon Appetit Vice President Maisie Greenawalt. "These farmers are the future of our food. Doing the real work of growing and distributing food gives students direct and meaningful experience in creating a more sustainable food supply. Young farmers are serious entrepreneurs; today they are reinvigorating farming as a viable career option, making an important contribution to the strength of the American food system."
The guide provides practical advice on how to succeed as a small-plot farmer, including crop planning for the season, setting expectations with customers, maintaining productive relationships, sanitation, packaging, delivery, invoicing, marketing and promotion, building community and forming composting partnerships. It also includes an extensive list of other resources student gardeners may find useful and weaves in personal, real world advice from Bon Appetit chefs and general managers and successful student gardeners with whom the company has worked over the 10 years focused on local, sustainable food sourcing.