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Webinar: The Why and How Behind Aligning Your Institution’s Values With its Food Purchases

October 18, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

What is the impact of your purchases? Is your food service program taking steps to align its values—local sourcing, equity and diversity, climate, health, and beyond—with its purchases?

More and more, colleges and universities are rising to the occasion. Food service is evolving to meet the demand of their constituents and of the climate. They are setting internal goals and developing purchasing standards to serve as their procurement compass.

The Common Market—a nonprofit regional food distributor with a mission to connect communities to good food from sustainable family farms—will share examples of how they are innovating alongside two Georgia institutions and their shared food service management company to advance their food procurement through commitments to values-based, environmentally sound purchasing.

Join Emily Hennessee of The Common Market Southeast in conversation with Ciannat Howett, Associate Vice President for Sustainability, Resilience and Economic Inclusion of Emory University, Marissa Pace, Associate Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs at Spelman College, and Shira Kaufman, Local Sourcing Specialist at Bon Appétit Food Management as they dive into:

  • What role food service and institutional purchasing power can play in helping to reduce environmental impacts often associated with food production?

Why Bon Appétit, Emory and Spelman are encouraged to make purchasing commitments that align with values along climate and equity. How are purchasing goals set and how are they creating buy-in?

  • The institutions’ purchasing commitments to regenerative farming sources located within their region.

What impact does this procurement activity have on the Southeast’s sustainable grower network, on the institutions’ way of operating food service?

  • How institutions can find ways to use their budgets to prioritize values-based procurement and environmentally friendly food purchases.
  • How strategic partnerships, like those with The Common Market, help institutions’ food service meet its ESG goals and illustrate impact.

Learn how The Common Market’s Farm Impact Assessment became a helpful tool as these institutions set out to purchase from farms representing particular values.

The power of reporting and storytelling – see how a partnership with a food hub focused on transparency, source identification and intimate relationships with sustainable growers can help you create a rich story about your food to share with your students and college community!

For Members: Watch on Demand

For members: archived webinars on demand   Upcoming webinars 


Emily Hennessee, Project Manager, The Common Market

Emily Hennessee is the Project Manager for the Georgia ACRE Collective. Led by The Common Market Southeast, the ACRE Collective is a coalition of food and health organizations working to garner food purchasing commitments from Atlanta-area anchor institutions, while shifting procurement to producers that share these institutions’ values.

Emily has over 10 years of nonprofit experience working at the intersection of food systems, climate, and public health. Emily previously worked for Global Growers Network, 50by40, The Good Food Institute, Georgia Organics, and Emory University’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives.

Emily earned a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Emory University and a Master’s of Public Health with a focus on food systems and advocacy from Johns Hopkins University. In 2017, Emily was named one of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits’ 30 under 30. She previously served on the boards of Slow Food Atlanta and Generation Green of the Georgia Conservancy.

Emily Hennessee represents The Common Market, a national nonprofit organization with regional chapters that has demonstrated its ability to create impactful partnerships between rural and urban communities since 2008. Since its founding, The Common Market has distributed local foods from 300+ sustainable family farms to 1,800+ partner institutions. In that time, it estimates over 58 million meals have been served that include these fresh, healthy foods.

Marissa Pace, Assoc. Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs, Spelman College

Marissa Pace serves as the associate vice president for business and financial affairs at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. In her role, Pace has responsibility for the controller’s office including general accounting, as well as for auxiliary services including food service. Pace and her team also manage external audits, financial reporting, and tax compliance. Pace partners across campus to manage risk and improve sustainability. Prior to joining Spelman College, Pace had more than 15 years of progressive experience in financial analysis, compliance, and process improvement with leading Fortune 500 companies. Outside of her life at Spelman, Pace serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, is pursuing her doctorate at the University of Georgia, and enjoys opportunities to travel abroad.

Shira Kaufman, Local Sourcing Specialist, Bon Appétit Food Management

Shira Kaufman is the Local Sourcing Specialist overseeing Bon Appetit’s groundbreaking Farm to Fork Purchasing program. With over 5 years of experience in food systems work, she is passionate about sustainable, local solutions to large scale food systems challenges and community building through food. Managing over 1,600 Farm to Fork partners across the country, Shira is attuned to the variety of ways that operators and farmers alike collaborate to maintain and strengthen local purchasing relationships.

Ciannat M. Howett, JD, Associate Vice President, Resilience, Sustainability, and Economic Inclusion, Emory University

Ciannat Howett founded Emory’s first Office of Sustainability Initiatives in July 2006 before assuming her current role as Associate Vice President for Sustainability, Resilience and Economic Inclusion for Emory and Emory Healthcare. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and Emory College’s Environmental Sciences Department and a Senior Faculty Fellow with Emory’s Center for Ethics. Ciannat attended Emory as an undergraduate, receiving her B.A. in 1987, and she received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1992. She practiced environmental law with Kilpatrick Stockton for four years and was Senior Attorney with the Water Enforcement Division the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. for six years before serving as Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Georgia and Alabama office until 2006. She is a Trustee for the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, the PATH Foundation, and serves on the City of Atlanta’s Clean Energy Advisory Board and the Advisory Board of Emory Law School’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic and the National Council on Competitiveness. She is a co-founder of the Greater Atlanta Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development of the United Nations University and the Georgia Water Coalition.