Apples & Entrées for Institutions


This event combines two local food projects that use institutional buying power to catalyze innovation in the regional food system.  Discussions around “apple product development & marketing to institutions” and around “re-imagining retherm in health care” will run concurrently, with opportunities for participants to glean lessons and network with one another.  We will lead institutional purchasers and the Ontario value-chain through facilitated discussion to explore how we can get Ontarians the best food dollars can buy – and how we’re already doing that.  We’ll look at how all public institutions can spend their food dollars to stimulate innovation in the province’s apple value chain, so it becomes more competitive and keeps farmers in the orchard.  And we’ll look at how health care can re-purpose its re-therm ovens to encourage the use of more fresh Ontario foods, to get patients food that they are happy to eat.  The day will also speak to broader trends and lessons around how institutions and industry can challenge the status quo to strengthen the local food system.  It is funded by the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund and presented in partnership with the Ontario Apple Growers, Ontario’s Own, MealSource, and Burlodge.

My Sustainable Canada
Thursday, 17 January 2013 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM (EST)
Burlington, ON


There are a lot of food dollars in health care, schools, campuses, and correctional facilites. We’ve come a long way in recent years to recognize how we can put our institutions’ purchasing power to work by asking for local.  Now we are taking it a step further and exploring how we can respond to that demand for more local, by partnering with the Ontario apple industry to encourage it’s continued growth and innovation after one heck of a year… and by exploring how institutions like health care can reconsider the way they cook, in order to support more local.  This worksho will ask questions like: How can we capitalize on market opportunities for Ontario’s apple industry to supply the province’s institutions?  How can we re-imagine the way we use re-therm ovens with fresh, local food to serve health care patients Ontario-made entrees?


  • Ontario’s apple industry will learn about the institutional marketplace and have the opportunity to connect with procurement leaders from facilities across Ontario; dedicated discussion will also explore next steps to capitalize on some of these opportunities to sell to big institutional buyers
  • Health care facilities will explore how they can purchase more local food by re-imagining the use of re-therm and learning from facilities that have piloted more local food recipes prepared in re-therm
  • Schools, universitities and college campuses will make new connections with local suppliers and procurement leaders to help them to respond to student demand for more fresh, local food and to fulfill their sustainability missions
  • Other public sector institutions like correctional facilities and municipalities will see examples of how they can use their purchasing power to work for the public good, by understanding how they can invest in innovation in the local apple industry and strength of the broader food system
  • Distributors and other players in the food system will be directly involved in influencing the direction of innovation in the food system, while also recognizing the part they play in building a more robust and innovative food system through facilitating easier sourcing and flow of local food to institutions

Join us to explore how we can leverage the buying power of our institutions to stimulate new partnerships, new products, and new investment in the provincial food system!

For questions, contact hayley[at]mysuscan.org.


8:30am      Registration & Table Top Show
Local food vendors display their product … and institutions are encouraged to bring samples of the apple products and entrees that they buy for our “institutional grocery cart” table.

9:00am      Welcome & Opening Remarks
Words from organizers, project partners, and project funders on how we seize the day

9:30am      Challenging the Status Quo – Hayley Lapalme & Brendan Wylie-Toal
How rethinking what we do can lead to more victories and innovation in the local food system

10:00am    Food Outside the Box: Institutional Purchasing/Cooking Case Study
Footage and field notes from health care facilities that piloted new local entrees in their re-therm ovens, and how this allowed them to support more Ontario apple suppliers and other local food vendors

10:30am    Stretch & Hydrate!

10:45 am    Innovation in Industry & Institutions Roundtable Discussions
Topic and industry-specific facilitated discussions

11:15am    Identifying Market Opportunities
Words from panelists in industry and public institutions on the opportunities they see for market innovation, how institutions buy and think, and how we can collaborate to support food entrepreneruship and procurement leadership.  A conversation with lots of space for questions and discussion!

12:15pm    Lunch & Networking
Local fare prepared by chefs of the Royal Botanical Gardens 

1:15pm      Open Source Strategic Planning
Roundtables to lay out a roadmap to more innovation in local food product development and marketing in Ontario.

2:30pm      Next Steps & Closing Remarks

3:30pm      Aurevoir!

Photo Credit: wilding.andrew via Compfight cc