Is the AiA Framework a single, unified standard for values-based food procurement? If not, why not?

No. The AiA Framework is not a single standard, but rather a framework that guides and harmonizes our organizations’ standards. In areas where they deviate, it simply signals a difference in the approach each organization takes to shifting the food system through working with their primary stakeholder groups. Working toward any of the three AiA partners’ guidelines will move your organization toward good food for all. We encourage you to contact us to find out more about how we can assist you in using the Framework to achieve the values-based goals of your institution, community, or business. 

Can I benefit from the AiA Framework as a small-scale producer, supplier, or distributor? 

Yes. The AiA Framework encourages institutions to buy from local, small-scale and diverse producers, suppliers, and distributors that share their values. Schools, hospitals, and other public institutions with a mission to serve public health are not just looking for the cheapest products. They are often willing to pay more and invest in the true cost of food that aligns with that mission. The Framework creates new opportunities and provides guidance on how small and medium sized producers, suppliers, and distributors can access institutional markets and increase their sales of values-based food. It also helps you to be more responsive to institutions’ product requirements and reporting needs. Feel free to contact us with your questions about how you can benefit from values-based procurement. 

I work at an institution that is interested in values-based food procurement. What first steps should I take? 

The AiA Framework outlines a set of fundamental strategies, or minimum best practices, which have been identified by our institutional partners and the communities they serve as critical to successfully implementing values-based procurement. These fundamental strategies are designed to be universally applicable as minimum practices for institutions across sectors and phases of engagement with values-based procurement programming. While each individual strategy represents an opportunity for positive impact, implementing them as a whole will create the most robust, sustainable, and systemic impact. Please contact us if you would like to work with us in advancing your values-based procurement journey. 

I am part of the leadership structure at a Food Service Management Company or Broadline Distributor. We would like to demonstrate our commitment to good food values and take advantage of the growing market for values-based food. What steps should we take? 

Congratulations on taking the first steps towards values-based food! The AiA Framework can help you show your customers that you share their values and that you are taking concrete steps to put those values into practice. By integrating elements of the Framework into your offerings, especially values-based products and suppliers, you will gain access to the large institutional customers who are increasingly requesting foods that help them reach procurement goals. Working with the Framework can also give you insights and information about what your customers want, which can help you increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. By applying the definitions, metrics and indicators outlined in AiA Framework to your supply chain, FSMCs demonstrate that you are part of the solution. Please contact us for more information. 

I am a policymaker committed to advancing the values outlined in the AiA Framework. How can I use the Framework to inform winning policy proposals? 

From Los Angeles to Chicago to Boston, there are dozens of cases of policymakers across the country using values-based food procurement strategies as a tool for responding to their constituents’ needs and values. Get in touch with us and we will happily point you to the most relevant policy examples, contacts, and resources to help you take action on good food in your jurisdiction. 

I am a reporter who would like to write a media story about the Anchors in Action alliance and/or values-based food procurement. Who should I get in touch with? 

Please visit our Press Room for information about the AiA Alliance and Framework directed at the media. You can also reach out and we will be happy to speak with you directly or put you in touch with school food directors, business owners, advocates, farmers, food workers, and others with powerful stories to tell about the real-life impacts of values-based food procurement.