Chicago Public Schools Looking for Local/Regional Produce

Chicago Public Schools looking for 2.3 million dollars worth of produce from within a 250 mile radius of the City

Request for Information from Midwest Farmers, Processors, and Distributors: For the 2010-2011 School Year, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality (CTH) is seeking fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables from Midwest farmers and processors to feed Chicago Public School students. To assist with the procurement process, this Request for Information is asking farmers, processors, and distributors to respond to specific needs of CTH. Please submit responses to CTH strategic partner by September 10, 2010. Purchases will begin in October of 2010. For this school year, it is the goal of CTH to purchase $2,300,000 of Midwest fresh and frozen produce. CTH will pay market prices for produce (FOB Chicago).

Requirements for product and/or producers include:

– Respondents must indicate their ability to provide produce that meets the variety, grade, and packing specifications outlined below and indicate what amount they have the capacity to supply
– Farms must be within 250 miles of Chicago

Additionally, respondents must confirm the following:

– Product liability insurance of at least $1million
– Food Safety Certification (USDA GAP/GHP certification or third party equivalent)
– HAACCP certified if animals are present on farm or if for processed/frozen product


Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality seeks to minimize pesticide residues on this produce and therefore will give preference to products that are grown:

– Using Integrated Pest Management techniques
– Without the use of organophosphate pesticides

Preference means that in a given situation with two products where all else is equal, those that meet the preferences will be chosen.

About Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality:

Chicago Public Schools has contracted with Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality to provide food service management services in 481 schools in Chicago. Chartwells-Thompson, a joint venture between Chartwells School Dining Services and Thompson Hospitality serves more than 85,000 breakfasts and 200,000 lunches every day. As part of Chartwells-Thompson’s commitment to serving healthy appealing school meals that meet and exceed nutrition standards, CTH will expand the volume of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Response Form can be found at under the farmer opportunities tab, or visit

Deadline for Response: September 10, 2010

Responses should be submitted to Or mailed to 7115 W. North Ave. #504, Oak Park, IL 60302. For more information call at (708) 763-9920

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