Local Link

Bringing together a growing network committed to building thriving local economies, vibrant urban and rural communities, and equitable access to good food

Project partners:

   2015 – present

Karen Lin and Amanda Foster of Fresh Elements at Local Link 2022. Photo credit: Supreme Optics

Local Link is a meeting place for institutional procurement leaders to make meaningful connections with regional producers and good food businesses.

For more than a decade, Ecotrust has worked to help wholesale buyers put their purchasing dollars toward local and regional producers. On the other side of the coin, local producers and food and beverage businesses ready to grow need new avenues to make personal connections that lead to lasting purchasing relationships.

What began as a vendor fair where institutional food buyers—schools, hospitals, universities, and corporate chefs—could meet and sample the foods of local producers has evolved into a unique networking and learning opportunity.

Now in its sixth year, this event has been a platform for meaningful connections for 100+ wholesale buyers and chefs; regional farmers, ranchers, and fishers; distributors; and community food system organizations to gather and form supportive connections for their foodservice programs, businesses, and programming. 

Gajin Yi and Lindsie Choi of Choi’s Kimchi at Local Link 2022. After connecting at Local Link in 2019, Portland Public Schools was inspired to find a way to utilize kimchi as a harvest-of-the-month menu item featuring cabbage. Photo credit: Supreme Optics

Vendor at Local Link sharing information about specialty jello

Affouet Price of Hibisbloom shares a sample of her fruit-forward, hospital-friendly jellos during Local Link 2022. Photo credit: Supreme Optics

[The] Local Link event gave me an opportunity to make great connections that resulted in my products being served by some local school cafeterias.

—Eleni Woldeye, owner of Eleni’s Kitchen 


Project Partners

The Oregon Department of Agriculture serves Oregon’s diverse agricultural and food sectors to maintain and enhance a healthy natural resource base and strong economy in rural and urban communities across the state.

Health Care Without Harm works to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

The OFSSGN provides resources, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to support members of Oregon’s Farm to School and school garden community

Vendors at Local Link 2022 in the Main Hall at Redd East. Photo credit: Supreme Optics

Ecotrust Project Team & Services

Want to learn more? Check out the full Ecotrust Staff & Board and all of our Tools for Building Collective Change.

Ecotrust project team

We build and deliver mission-aligned projects in partnership.

Impactful connections

For many food businesses, Local Link is an opportunity to meet and learn more about institutional buyers and what they’re looking for. For Lucy De León from Salsas Locas, a connection with Portland Public Schools supported the means to develop a school-ready product that is now enjoyed in cafeterias throughout Oregon. 

15 K


In 2018, Portland Public Schools connected with Lucy De León from Salsas Locas at Local Link and committed to purchasing 15,000 tamales.


School Districts

Now, Lucy is selling her tamales to  13 school districts throughout Oregon. 

Lucy de Leon with Lisa Vincent of Beaverton School District (retired) at Local Link 2019. Photo by Kim Nguyen

One of the ways we express our culture is in the foods we eat. Having culturally relevant foods in the schools is twofold: it reminds students of the foods they eat at home, and it teaches other students about new cultures and new foods!

—Lucy De León, owner of Salsas Locas. Here, Lucy is joined by Lisa Vincent (Left), Formerly of Beaverton School district, where Salsas Locas tamales are now served.



Blog post

After a two-year hiatus necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked with partners to produce Local Link again in 2022.


The complete list of vendors who attended Local Link 2022


Blog post

Read more about the more than 100 producers, food businesses, advocates, and buyers who came together to discuss diversity and dig into the delicious details at the fifth annual Local Link!


The complete list of vendors who attended Local Link 2019



Check out this photo album to see who was in the room at Local Link 2016. 



Check out this photo album to see who was in the room at Local Link 2015.

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