Co-convened by Ecotrust and the NW Food Buyers’ Alliance, Local Link is the place to be for wholesale food buyers interested in making connections with local producers. The event is open to members of the Northwest Food Buyers’ Alliance and all institutional foodservice staff interested in finding new local products and building relationships that will lead to viable solutions for large-scale, local sourcing.
Last year’s event hosted 41 vendors and welcomed more than 100 attendees, representing a range of institutional food service buyers and partners from throughout the food system.
Stay tuned for upcoming information on the 2019 Local Link event including vendor application and registration information.
Since the first Local Link event, the range and scale of connections between vendors and buyers has been on the rise.
Amy DeSimone purchases food for the Clackamas County Children’s Commission, serving hundreds of young children attending Head Start programs. She was extremely enthused to find new vendors for local grass-fed beef and pork at Local Link, saying, “I’m so glad I found this – I don’t have anywhere else to easily meet new local ranchers to buy meat for my program.”
Each year, Local Link has enjoyed a strong presence from school foodservice buyers and representatives. During the 2018 event, Portland Public Schools (PPS) committed to purchasing 15,000 tamales from Salsas Locas for school lunch. Dos Hermanos bakery also connected with PPS at Local Link and began working on a new connection with the Beaverton School District following the 2018 event.
In addition to direct connections, hosting Local Link at the Redd on Salmon Street has connected both buyers and sellers to the unique ecosystem of services the campus offers.
Scott Scales, Executive Chef at Kaiser Permanente was thrilled to learn that he could easily purchase products from many of the vendors he met at the fair by going through a single distributor: B-Line. We connected him directly with the B-Line team to work out the details. This is just one example of how we’re harnessing the energy of the Redd to help make connections and facilitate transactions between food producers and institutional buyers.