The fourth school district in the country to adopt such a policy, the Good Food Purchasing Program will shift nearly $80 million annually in public procurement dollars toward food that is sustainable, local, humane, fair and healthy.
CHICAGO, Ill.—(ENEWSPF)–June 26, 2017 – The Chicago Public School Board votes on July 28, 2017, to adopt the updated CPS Wellness Policy committing the district to the Good Food Purchasing Program. Adoption of the Program in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will deepen and accelerate the District’s commitment to values-based purchasing that contributes to overall health and community wellness in the city and region.
“We are excited to see Chicago Public Schools continue to be a leader by using procurement dollars to improve the freshness, quality and nutrition in their meals for students while growing opportunities for local, sustainable and fair producers and processors,” stated Rodger Cooley, Executive Director of the Chicago Food Policy Action Council.
An important source of healthy food for children in the city, Chicago Public Schools make their meals free to all students while serving nearly 27 million breakfasts and 43 million lunches per school year and spending close to $80 million on food purchases in 2016 – 2017.
The Good Food Purchasing Program provides a metric-based framework and set of tools that guide institutions to direct their buying power toward suppliers that meet benchmarks related to five core values: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition. The Good Food Purchasing Program is a leading model across the country and the first of its kind to support these food system values in equal measure. Last year, San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School Districts formally adopted the Program following the leadership of Los Angeles Unified School District in 2012.
The adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program supports and enhances existing innovative initiatives “such as the Nutrition Services existing commitments to healthier meals and school education efforts including local produce, antibiotic free chicken, school gardens, healthy vending, and reduced additives,” Leslie Fowler, Director of Nutrition Support Services at Chicago Public Schools .
The Chicago Food Policy Action Council and the Food Chain Workers Alliance have played a leadership role in the City’s adoption of the Program by supporting the Chicago Good Food Taskforce organized by the Mayor’s Office including multiple City of Chicago Sister Agencies (Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago City Colleges, Chicago Housing Authority) and Departments (Department of Public Health, Department of Family and Support Services, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Aviation, and Procurement).
Additional support has come from the Chicago Good Food Purchasing Policy Coalition including Seven Generations Ahead, FamilyFarmed, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, Food and Water Watch, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago, Fair Trade Chicago and Warehouse Workers for Justice.
The Good Food Purchasing Program is a program of the Center for Good Food Purchasing. The Center works with national partners and local multi-sector coalitions, administrators, and elected officials in cities across the country to transfer, scale, and network the Good Food Purchasing Program. In just two years, the Program has expanded from two agencies in Los Angeles to more than 15 school districts, public hospitals and city agencies across the country, leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the food system and increase access to healthier meals for students. The Center provides planning, implementation and evaluation support for participants.
“Imagine the impact if the largest public institutions in cities across the country took a unified stand for Good Food. We could redirect billions of dollars to suppliers that share our values, create ripple effects throughout the industry and influence the national conversation around what a truly equitable and sustainable food system looks like,” says Colleen McKinney, Associate Director of the Center for Good Food Purchasing.
Local coalitions are also leading active campaigns in Austin, Cincinnati, New York City, Madison, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Oakland and San Francisco—with growing interest in additional cities—with leadership from The Center for Good Food Purchasing and Food Chain Workers Alliance, plus communications support from Real Food Media.
National partners involved in the national Good Food Purchasing Campaign include: ASPCA, Domestic Fair Trade Association, Farm Forward, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Good Food for All Network, HEAL Food Alliance, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future, PolicyLink, Real Food Media, School Food Focus, Slow Food USA, Union of Concerned Scientists, and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
The Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) is a 501c3 non-profit that advocates for responsible food and agriculture policy recommendations and promotes systemic changes creating self-reliance for all communities in obtaining their food.