Sourcing locally grown food just got easier. The new digital toolkit Developing a Worksite Food Box Program is aimed at employers who want to make a regular supply of healthy food more accessible to their employees. The kit presents an experimental model for aggregating local farm products and coordinating the delivery of food boxes to employees right at their workplaces.
Produced by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and the Iowa Food Hub, the publication describes the benefits of setting up a workplace food-box delivery system, profiles the Worksite Food Box pilot program implemented by the Iowa Food Hub in northeastern Iowa workplaces, and offers guidance for setting up a similar program in other locations.
The experience provided to customers by the Iowa Food Hub is much like that of joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, and the majority of the food-box customers are new to local foods. By making its food boxes more convenient for people to receive — with workplace drop-offs and flexible, week-to-week ordering — the program has been able to recruit shoppers who might not otherwise buy local.
“Developing a Worksite Food Box Program” is the first toolkit in a series designed by the participating organizations to share knowledge gleaned from work and research on local foods in northeastern Iowa. All the toolkits function as case studies, and though they are not necessarily applicable to all situations, they provide examples of models that could be adapted to many other communities. Upcoming toolkits will cover other projects related to food hubs, including farm-to-school programs.