We are thrilled to bring you the news of another good food victory! The Chicago Public School Board voted on June 28, 2017, to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program, which will mean a better plate for 380,000 students! 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 policy will shift these procurement dollars towards food that is sustainable, local, humane, fair and healthy.

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.

“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.

A big shout out to all the people and organizations that helped make this happen, including: the Good Food Purchasing Center, Food Chain Workers Alliance, The Chicago Food Policy Action Council, the Chicago Good Food Taskforce 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). With additional support from the Chicago Good Food Purchasing Coalition including: Advocates for Urban Agriculture, Fair Trade Chicago, FamilyFarmed, Food and Water Watch, Grow Greater Englewood, Growing Power, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago, Seven Generations Ahead, and Warehouse Workers for Justice.

Read more here and join us in congratulating the Chicago Public School Board for supporting healthy food access and sustainable agriculture! And onward as the coalition continues to work towards city-wide adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program in Chicago!