Farm to Fork: Opportunities and Constraints
Gottwals, James Philip
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Our team devised a three-stage system to implement a food distribution network to serve Anne Arundel County clients including private retailers, public institutions such as schools and hospitals, and eventually privately-owned restaurants. The goal is to maximize the supply of locally sourced produce for customers as the demand for local food continues to rise. This program would create a more economically efficient food distributor that would also generate GroupGAP funding through price premiums only from out-of-county participants. GroupGAP is a USDA farm food safety program that provides the entire specialty crops industry the opportunity to supply and buy fruits, vegetables, and related products that are certified as being produced using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). Stage 1 will serve as the pilot program, to satisfy the needs of one small buyer. If successful, this will serve as proof of concept, and will be a model for how to grow and improve to take on more customers. An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system will be developed during this phase as the foundation of the infrastructure for the business model. The operation’s logistical needs will be met using a jobbers driving service. During Stage 2, the pilot’s success will be highlighted to attract new clients, particularly farms both inside and outside Anne Arundel County. In this phase, the ERP’s development would reach functional completion, allowing most optimization economics to be automated. Through licensing and LLC partnership funding, the program will use the capital generated to develop infrastructure, increase marketing initiatives, and further GroupGAP subsidization. The marketing plan will expand at this stage to entice new buyers by demonstrating the proof-of-concept price transparency and supply parity pilot run. After sufficient growth, in Stage 3 we estimate the program will be developed enough to meet the demand schedules of much larger institutions such as the County’s public schools and hospitals’ patient and non-patient demands. By this time, the optimization between local supply and demand would be fully automated in the ERP. Full-time supply chain specialists will work with farmers to determine yield expectations and quality control through the GroupGAP program.
Final project for AREC489P (Spring 2017). University of Maryland, College Park