Procurement Overview

What is “local?”

Who decides what “local” is? You do! There is no federal definition of local. Adopt a definition that fits your needs. “Local” may include limitation on farm size, and/or a geographic area.

The Procurement Process


Easy as 1,2,3

1. Know your small purchase threshold level. This may be the state level of $20,000 or a smaller amount set by the local district. Use the smaller of the two.

2. Determine the estimated purchase amount of the product. Two resources for reliable cost estimates are:

Two reliable sources for determining the amounts of raw product needed are:

3. Compare the estimated purchase amount to the purchasing threshold to determine what procurement method will be used.


For a description and guidance on application of micro-purchasing, informal small procurement (three bids and a buy) and formal purchasing, view the Power Point presentation, “Specification Guidance and Innovations in Purchasing Local”.

Writing Product Specification

Use product specifications to assure you get exactly the product you need. Include:

  • Size
  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Processing
  • Packaging
  • Food Safety
  • Delivery

Here are some resources to aid in developing specifications:

  • Fruits and Vegetables Galore
  • Example of a specification sheet for fruit available here
  • Example of a specification sheet for vegetables available here
  • Example of a specification sheet for beef available here
  • Documentation for Quotations form available here

Specifications can also be used to target local products. Consider specifying:

  • Particular varieties unique to the region
  • Freshness (Specify delivery within short period after harvest)
  • Size of farm
  • Harvest techniques
  • Crop diversity
  • Origin labeling
  • Availability of farm to host farm visits or class visits

Kentucky Proud Buy Local Program

Participating in the Kentucky Proud Buy Local Program can provide reimbursement for purchase of local products. Access the application and guidelines here.

Geographic Preference

THE 2008 FARM BILL directed the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage schools to purchase locally grown and locally raised products “to the maximum extent practicable and appropriate.” The Secretary was also instructed to allow child nutrition program operators to use a “geographic preference” when procuring locally grown and locally raised unprocessed agricultural products. Unprocessed locally grown agricultural products that retain their inherent character are eligible for a geographic preference. See this document for more on geographic preference:

Geographic Preference: What It Is and How to Use It:

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Agricultural Service Providers of Kentucky
USDA Local Food Hub Directory
  • The Food Hub Directory lists businesses or organizations that actively manage the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, primarily local and regional producers, to strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail, and institutional demand. Search for food hubs near you by distance or zip code:
Produce Auctions
  • A produce auction is a wholesale market outlet for local farm and greenhouse products. Fresh produce, as well as a variety of other agricultural products, is offered for sale to the highest bidder. For more information about produce auctions, visit the University of Kentucky Center for Crop Diversification website:
  • The following produce auctions operated in Kentucky during 2020:
    • Bath County Produce Auction
    • Casey County Produce Auction
    • Fairview Produce Auction (Christian County)
    • Hart County Produce Auction
    • Lincoln County Produce Auction
    • Speck Ridge Produce Auction (Taylor County)
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