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Dear Restaurant Owner,

In recent years, there has been an explosion of interest in local foods. We are a group at SUNY Delhi collaborating with local non-profits to increase consumption of local food in Delaware County.  “Buying locally” sounds simple enough, but there are many factors that make it difficult: cost, convenience, unfamiliarity, and lack of a defined system all make the suggestion of buying locally on a regular basis intimidating.

What we are really interested in developing is a Community Food System---a “collaborative effort to integrate agricultural production with food distribution to enhance the economic, environmental, and social well-being of a particular place.” In this case, that particular place is Delaware County. Our mission is to work with food businesses to connect them with local farmers so that eventually the process of buying local has a defined system.

We realize the importance of getting input from those who are actually dealing with the complexities of running a food business.  By filling out the included survey, you will be giving us valuable information on the challenges that restaurant owners face when trying to buy locally. Even if you are not 100% sure you want to participate in this effort, we encourage you to fill out and return the survey to the address below by Date.  Thank you so much for your time and input!

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  1. Include:

    • working to make the use of local foods easy and economical
    • looking for your interest and input
    • excited about the project and its potential impact on the local economy, society, and environment
    • where to return the survey
    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to respond
  2. Include definition of "local"  (food) for purpose of the survey.
    I believe Dept of Ag came up with definition a few years ago -- either 400 miles max transported or grown within the state, perhaps?

  3. Items to include:

    - Absolutely a definition of local food since everyone has a different definition for that. This probably goes back to the mission of this group: are we trying to connect Delaware County businesses with Delaware County Farmers and Food Producers?

    - Be clear that we are trying to ASSIST them with this process if they are interested

    - Tell them how participating in this project will help THEIR business in addition to the local economy as a whole.

    - Encourage them to complete the survey even if not 100% sure whether they would like to participate.

    - Keep it to 1 page

    - Set a timeline for response - 15 days-ish?

    - Lots of Thanks for their time

    Stuff not to mention:

    - Specific farmers/vendors that might be involved in this program - esp. since we have no committment from anyone at this point

    - Do not make assumptions about how their customers might respond to them adding local foods