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Sodexo plans to source more food from Green Mountains - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sodexo plans to source more food from Green Mountains

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RANDOLPH, Vt. -

Every day, Sodexo serves 34,000 meals to Vermonters in the state's schools, colleges and hospitals, amounting to more than 12 million over the year.

Thursday, spokespeople for the multinational corporation pledged to source more of that food from the Green Mountains.

"We wouldn't be standing here today without a few important ingredients," said Chuck Ross, the Vt. agriculture secretary.

Ross says the effort is the result of customer demand, the state's farm to institution efforts, local farmers and Sodexo's flexibility. He says Thursday's announcement formalizes a process that's been underway for four years.

Ross says that led to a 15 percent hike in local sourcing by the company last year.

"This is a win-win commitment that is not only good for Vermont but good for Sodexo," said Phil Harty of Sodexo. "Our goal is to be able to do this responsibly that is affordable for everybody."

Sodexo spokespeople say the effort will not increase costs for consumers.

They said the company spent $16 million on Vermont-produced food last year, but could not say what percentage of food served in state that represents or how much it spent in total.

But Ross says the company's commitment still provides certainty to farmers that there's a buyer for their crops creating 2,200 new jobs since 2010

"It's a change that allows farmers to scale up in a way they can't in the current marketplace," said Ross.

Producers say most of the food Sodexo is buying from them is produce, like fruit and vegetables. Sodexo spokespeople say they believe leveraging the company's buying power will increase agriculture production in-state.

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