Starting a New Buy Fresh Buy Local Chapter:
Chapter Planning Checklist
This checklist represents BFBL’s collective wisdom regarding issues and steps to consider when conceptualizing a new chapter. It is important to note that few chapters complete all of the items on this checklist before beginning. It’s okay to not have all the answers from the get-go, but the Chapter Planning Checklist is a valuable resource that will help you assess where you are in the chapter planning process, and conceptualize implementation strategies.
With each item, FMC is here to help you find the answers and resources needed to make your chapter a success!
Understanding Your Local Food System
- Have you adequately assessed the supply of locally produced foods in your region?
- Do you have a thorough understanding about how your local food system works in terms of production, consumption and distribution?
- Do you have a clear idea about where the opportunities are, what barriers exist, and where your resources and efforts can have the greatest impact?
- Has your organization or committee established a strong relationship with local farmers? If so, have you assessed the interest and capacity among these farmers to supply local markets?
- Have you researched which local market channels in order to prioritize for your chapter?
- Have you allowed sufficient time to develop a solid chapter plan and timeline?
- Have you identified potential partner organizations and established a plan and structure for working together on the chapter (i.e. establishing a chapter steering committee)?
- Have you developed a definition of “local” that is appropriate for you region?
- Have you developed a strategy for engaging and maintaining farmer participation in your chapter?
- Have you identified which local food products to promote?
- Have you thought about developing a “local food guide”? The most important element of your chapter is creating some type of food guide; FMC can help you develop this valuable tool that is the start of your chapter’s success!
- Have you determined what types of retailers, farmers markets, restaurants, institutions, farmers and other producer entities are eligible to participate in your chapter?
- Have you thought about what kinds of existing food producers you want to attract to your area?
- Have you thought about what you would like to establish or bring back to the area?
- Have you identified your initial target market and plan for chapter expansion?
Funding & Budgeting
- Does your new chapter have the resources and organizational capacity needed to launch and sustain a successful local chapter?
- Have you developed a budget, funding strategy, and/or business plan for your chapter?
- Have you identified and developed relationships with potential funding partners and determined how other organizations, businesses, and farmers can support your chapter through local membership, etc?
- Is your chapter willing to ask for funding, participate in national fundraising events, write grants and find ways to be self sustaining for the long-term goals of your community?
- Is your chapter able to raise the start-up costs that are needed to establish a local chapter, pay annual dues, participate in the Network of Chapters, and attend the BFBL National Gathering (when offered)?
- Have you developed a solid evaluation plan that will identify the chapter’s impact on your community? Where are you now and where do you hope to be in one, five, and ten years as a local food community?
- Consider starting small and scaling up. Early in the history of the BFBL program, most of the programs had to scale back from initial plans, either by reducing geographic scope or focusing more on one or two market ideas. We have found that the learning curve and volume of work is so great in the first year that starting simple has served everyone well. You may also find it helpful to develop a step-by-step game plan that lays out what activities need to happen and when.
- Creating a sustainable funding base for your Chapter is essential to its longevity and impact on your community. If you are starting a Chapter through seed grant funds, be sure to establish a sound membership and development structure, as well as partnership, sponsorship and other grant opportunities to ensure a diverse and solid financial budget from year to year.
- Good evaluation is key to helping potential funders understand how communities, restaurants, institutions, local farmers and most importantly the local economy are benefiting from the chapters work.