Case Studies and Reports

The Common Market is dedicated to strengthening regional food systems, developing fair wholesale markets, improving public health and food access and promoting the viability of small and mid-scale farms.


When we complete case studies and research projects, we hope to leverage the impact of our work by sharing our experiences with others. We encourage you to download and share these reports and resources widely.

The Common Market Annual Report 2023

The Common Market's 2023 Annual Report highlights the launch of our Forward Commitment Program, which empowers institutions to support values-aligned farms throughout their crop cycles. This program moves away from the standard week-to-week ordering model to advance seasonal production planning and guaranteed purchases, fostering a more resilient and equitable food system. In 2023, about 20 institutions, mainly higher education sites, committed $400,000 in advanced orders from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) growers. Despite some challenges, the program is seen as a crucial step towards sustainable markets for farmers, leveraging USDA programs like the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement (LFPA) and Local Food for Schools (LFS). These efforts, along with our other diverse partnerships across our four regions, resulted in a total economic impact of $86.3 million, significant investments in local economies, and expanded support for diverse farmers.

On behalf of our sustainable family farms, food access partners, and teams, thank you for supporting The Common Market in 2023!

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The Common Market Strategic Playbook 2023-2024

The Common Market’s 2023-2024 Strategic Playbook presents a comprehensive approach to advancing values-based procurement within our institutions. This empowers our farmers to farm with confidence while enhancing supply chain capacity, ensuring our partners have a source for local food they can trust. Through collaboration with anchor institutions, farmers, and other stakeholders, we aim to transform regional food procurement practices and strengthen the connections between producers and consumers. Partner with us to create a future of resilient farmers and thriving communities!

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Case Study: Year 1 The Georgia ACRE Collective

The Georgia ACRE Collective is Advancing Agriculture, Community, Resilience and Equity (ACRE) through Values-Based Procurement as an Atlanta, Georgia-based coalition of local and national organizations that share a vision for more vibrant and equitable regional food systems. The coalition evolved in 2022 through a year-long planning process within the local food community that included state, federal and local governmental agencies, institutional buyers, food as medicine practitioners and food system funders in facilitated brainstorming sessions. These stakeholders expressed a desire to come together to improve racial equity, health equity, economic opportunity, and environmental sustainability through strong procurement relationships between local anchor institutions and historically disadvantaged farmers. By incorporating food purchasing standards that align with core values (i.e. diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); climate action), anchor institutions can affect positive social changes through intentional procurement practices. This report reflects their collective efforts from Year 1, November 2022-November 2023.

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The Common Market Annual Report 2022

The Common Market Annual Report 2022 chronicles highlights from the past year in pursuit of a vibrant, equitable food system, including our collective $13,000,000 investment in local economies through food purchases. Read on to see our team, board, supporters and the innovative partnerships that fueled our impact!

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NEW: Advancing School Food Procurement: Driving Values-Based Purchasing through Competitive Solicitations

This new resource is intended to inspire all schools interested in shifting toward or advancing their values-based procurement and sourcing practices.

  • Case studies and tangible tips
  • Findings from a series of expert interviews (including school nutrition directors, food service management company staff, university extension agents, and others)
  • An extensive review of solicitation language to better understand how districts across the country are incorporating their school meal values into procurement practices!

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The Common Market 2021 Annual Impact Report

Our 2021 Annual Report chronicles the progress The Common Market has made in pursuit of our goals: supporting food access innovations alongside our institutional partners, building support for resilient agriculture, and rebuilding regional food systems through policy and advocacy.

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The Common Market Social Impact Prospectus

This is a formal invitation for social investment in The Common Market’s national expansion. This is a true impact investment opportunity where grants and nominal interest loans will support new food infrastructure connecting and benefiting rural family farms and urban communities. Long term, return on investment will come as social benefit through the creation of vibrant regional food systems where interdependent urban and rural communities thrive through relationships that build the health and wealth of all people.

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Case Study: The Farm Stand at Lankenau Medical Center

Lankenau Medical Center, located in Wynnewood, PA, is committed to the holistic health and well-being of its entire community. The hospital prioritizes the critical link between diet and health outcomes, and works to ensure that all of its patients, staff and guests have access to wholesome food. Learn how they fostered a healthy food environment with a Common Market Farm Stand.

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Case Study: The Common Market’s Food Access Fund

In 2015, The Common Market established a “Food Access Fund,” which awards a 25 percent discount on food purchases to community organizations that work directly with vulnerable populations. Organizations that qualify for the Food Access Fund are mission driven and committed to alleviating barriers to food access within low-income communities. Read on to see how our community partner, East Park Revitalization Alliance, increased access to healthy, affordable farm foods using The Food Access Fund.

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Case Study: Helping municipalities prioritize high-quality, equitable food relief during a global pandemic

In response to COVID-19, The Common Market partnered with city government agencies across three major metropolitan areas—Baltimore, MD; New York City, NY; and Atlanta, GA—to help them meet the emergent food access needs of their most vulnerable constituents.

The contracts demonstrate how local governments can partner with nonprofits and mission-oriented vendors to address constituent needs in times of crisis.

The study provides equitable solutions for addressing food insecurity during times of crises, and considerations for long-term food system change.

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Case Study: Helping Public Schools Combat Food Access Challenges during COVID-19

Despite disruption to food service models caused by COVID-19, schools across our regions continue to play a critical role as anchors in their communities, meeting food insecurity needs with flexibility and care. This case study explores The Common Market's partnership with five New Jersey school districts and Austin Independent School District and their innovative approaches to food service, which increased healthy food access and participation in meal programs, while supporting small to mid-scale family farms.

To learn more, email our National Partnerships Director

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Case Study: World Central Kitchen and The Common Market Texas

In response to the recent global health crisis, extreme weather events, and food insecurity generally, our regional food system has the ability to meet the needs of our area's most vulnerable.

Explore the Impact: The Common Market Texas, our network of resilient farmers, and our partnership with World Central Kitchen helped connect nearly 17,000 boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables in just 2.5 weeks to Texans across Greater Houston, La Porte, Greater Austin, Elgin, Manor, Round Round, and San Antonio who suffered the devastating impacts of Winter Storm Uri.

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The Common Market 2020 Annual Impact Report

We invite you to read our 2020 Annual Impact Report—a collection of stories and impact illustrating the experience of our family farmer networks and our unique community partnerships. Despite the shifts and pivots, our mission to connect good food to communities from sustainable family farms, and our areas of impact — public health, the environment, and regional economies— remained true.

Thanks to our amazing teams across our regions, Board of Directors, farmer networks and supporters we were able to deliver 31 million+ meal equivalents to individuals, students, and families; foster 1,026 community partnerships that focused on fresh food access; and support 165 farmers, ranchers, and producers in the process. We thank you all for your support of our mission!

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True Value: Revealing the Positive Impacts of Food Systems Transformation presents powerful and compelling evidence that food systems transformation is possible and having an impact now. Conducted by TMG Think Tank for Sustainability, an inclusive and true cost evaluation approach is applied to six food systems initiatives featured in the Beacons of Hope series to understand the breadth and depth of their positive impacts. True Cost Accounting (TCA) is an innovative tool that provides a holistic understanding of the relationships between agriculture, food, the environment, and human well-being.

The Common Market in the US aggregates and distributes wholesale fruits, vegetables, animal products, and artisanal goods from small farms, giving them access to large regional vendor markets, mostly public and private institutions. Through its model, interdependent urban and rural communities thrive through relationships that build the health and wealth of all people.

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"We now understand the importance of applying systems thinking to food security and food sovereignty. The Common Market (USA) and the Lagos Food Bank Initiative (Nigeria) push back against productivism through counter-narratives that present alternate pathways forward. The success borne from valuing community-building, addressing both short- and long-term needs, and taking into account the social, cultural, health, and environmental impacts of their programs demonstrates this systemic approach."

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COVID-19 Impact Report

Our COVID-19 response and impact reflects a collective effort, the result of mutually beneficial partnerships between local growers, community organizations and our regional food hubs. We are honored to continue the collaboration, and work to expand healthy food access for all.

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A Randomized Trial to Encourage Healthy Eating Through Workplace Delivery of Fresh Food

In a randomized study, researchers at The University of Pennsylvania found that recipients of The Common Market's fruit and vegetable boxes exhibited effective behavior change strategies that are correlated to lower rates of diet-related chronic disease like obesity and diabetes.

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COVID-19 Statement: The Common Market aims to be a part of the solution.

At The Common Market, we view the health and well-being of our communities as a top priority, and we fully recognize the role high-quality, local food can play in nutrition and overall good health. In the wake of the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak, The Common Market leans on its mission to serve, and aims to be a part of the solution.

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The Real Impact of Real Food: 8 Ways Institutional Procurement is Building a Real Food Economy

The Common Market serves as a local partner to institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, enabling them to meet their Real Food Challenge goals and beyond. The research behind this report set out to answer the following questions: What impact is Real Food purchasing having? In what ways is institutional Real Food purchasing building the robust, healthy food system we want – or not? What do purchasing relationships with colleges and universities mean to vendors on the ground?

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Good Food For All Procurement Primers

The Good Food For All Collaborative (GFFA) has created a series of primers that exemplify our vision for an equitable food system and demonstrate how procurement policies can create transformational change. The five key principles are: A Strong Local Economy; Environmental Sustainability; A Valued Food Industry Workforce; Animal Welfare; and High Nutritional Quality.

To learn more visit The Power of Procurement.

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Needs of Black Farmers on the Delmarva Penninsula

This report is the product of research and work with allies in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia to understand the crops, limitations and future plans of African American farmers on the Delmarva Peninsula. The assessment report outlines the history of African American and Delmarva Peninsula agriculture, crop and demographic data, examples of successful initiatives, and recommendations for black farmers and supporting organizations.

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Concept Paper for a National Network of Local Food Distributors

After 8 years of operations in Philadelphia, The Common Market began exploring opportunities to expand our impact by replicating our model in new markets.  This concept paper lays out our rationale and the beginning of a 5 year expansion plan, which will enable us to leverage our infrastructure, assets and relationships to benefit food access, public health and sustainable agriculture across the country.

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Health and Wealth in Your Region: Anchor Institutions and Regional Procurement

Universities, schools and hospitals anchor towns as economic engines and social services providers.  In this brief, we lay out out how anchor institutions can spur regional economic development and public health by using their food procurement dollars to buy sustainable food grown in their region.

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Overcoming Obstacles to Local Frozen Produce: Matching Production Mode to Market Niche

Local food all year round?  It is possible!  In this report, we showcase our demand side and supply side research that led to developing a “source identified,” fresh-cut frozen product line, now distributed to cafeterias and grocery stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

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Good Food is Good Healthcare

A healthy, thriving community is proof of a successful hospital. In this pamphlet, we showcase successful farm-to-hospital interventions and lay out 7 simple ways for health care institutions to engage in good food as a link to community health.

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First Food, Good Food

Can we bridge the “First Food” and “Good Food” movements to build healthier communities?  The First Food Good Food Project of Common Market set out to better understand the key influencers of decision making for infant feeding options and personal eating habits in the Strawberry Mansion community of Philadelphia. Our goal was to better understand the local factors, attitudes, people, places, cultural nuances and perceptions that guide food choices throughout the life continuum— from how we feed our babies to how we feed ourselves.

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The Common Market Business Plan

The Common Market began operations in July 2008. By 2010, it had sold over $500k of local farm product, serving primarily hospitals, schools and universities. We projected that The Common Market could be financially self-sustaining in 2011. In this business plan we took a fresh look at our model and present keys to success, risks, supply chain development and financial modeling.

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The Common Market Feasibility Study

This study tests the premise that a values-driven wholesale distributor of food grown in the Philadelphia region can catalyze the necessary infrastructure to both supply the wholesale needs of the Philadelphia market and incentivize regional farmers to grow and sell more product regionally. This 240-page report includes all of The Common Market’s feasibility study methodology as well as supply- and demand-side interviews.

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From the archives

Check out our past newsletters - updates and stories of our farmers, customers and impact.

The Common Market Newsletter - Winter 2017

The Common Market Georgia has a new warehouse, our Mid-Atlantic facility runs on 100% renewable energy for the 3rd year running, and achieves SQF, Level 2 - a globally bench-marked food safety standard!

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The Common Market Newsletter - Fall 2016

Our "Good Food, Healthy Hospitals" team visited the White House, The Common Market Mid-Atlantic farms now all GAP Certified, and we started a new truck route to South Georgia.

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The Common Market Newsletter - Summer 2016

We are excited to announce expansion of The Common Market into Atlanta, Georgia! At the same time, we are expanding distribution in the Mid-Atlantic to include the metro-Washington, D.C. region.

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