Local Partnerships: Sodexo Grows Small Businesses, Farmers and Jobs in Chicago

December 02, 2018

Sodexo's local sourcing of produce in the Chicago area leverages partners across their supply chain to positively impact the community of Chicago. To do so, Sodexo has partnered with Midwest Foods, a woman-owned and operated regional produce distributor, and the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program to support small, local Chicago businesses and farmers by leveraging Sodexo's purchasing power to create demand for Chicago-grown products. Sodexo has initiated a multiplier effect as their partners scale their businesses by providing career development opportunities for at-risk community members, increasing access to affordable and nutritious choices for food deserted communities, and supporting local sustainability efforts.

Sodexo Partnership with Windy City Harvest

Courtesy of Sodexo

Specifically, Sodexo has supported a thirty-four percent year over year growth in produce volume with Windy City Harvest. Their partnership has enabled Windy City Harvest to expand its operations and community programing, training over 1,000 urban farmers including teens, apprentices and ex-offenders, incubating over 30 farm businesses, and providing 1,800 healthy produce boxes to low-income families using federal benefits. The Local Food Committee formed by supplier partner Midwest Foods to support Windy City Harvest has fostered sustainability improvements including the reduction of food waste through better demand planning and an imperfect produce program.

Through Sodexo's local sourcing efforts in the Chicago area, the company was able to develop a supply chain network that is enabling positive outcomes for the community. This includes an increased capacity of Chicago-based farmers, more inclusive access to healthy food and support for local sustainability efforts.