The Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP) harnesses the purchasing power of major institutions to encourage greater production of sustainably produced food, healthy eating habits, respect for workers’ rights, humane treatment of animals and support for the local business economy by providing new opportunities for small and mid-sized farmers and job creation along the supply chain. By building the market for Good Food, GFPP will also provide low-income residents in urban communities access to affordable, healthy, fair and sustainable food options.
The GFPP initiative is the most comprehensive and metric-based food purchasing policy of its kind in the nation and was developed by the LA Food Policy Council (LAFPC). It is a model that can be easily adopted by other cities. Think LEED, but for Good Food. Just as LEED has provided a critical catalyst to the green building movement, we believe our pledge will be a catalyst for the sustainable food movement in Los Angeles and beyond. The successful implementation of LAFPC’s program could create a ripple effect, inspiring other cities and states to take action.
The program promotes increasing levels of achievement in five crucial categories: (1) local economies, (2) environmental sustainability, (3) valued workforce, (4) animal welfare, and (5) nutrition. A tiered, points-based scoring system allows participants to choose which level of commitment best suits the Good Food goals of their organization. Participants are then awarded one to five stars based on their total score. To encourage participation, our program provides technical assistance in sourcing, monitoring progress, and measuring and recognizing success.
The GFPP was developed by taking into account the viewpoints of stakeholders from all aspects of the food system including farmers, food distributors, public health departments, labor, environmental and animal welfare organizations, restaurants and other large institutional food purchasers. Nearly 100 local and national experts from various fields provided input on the document and over two dozen prominent state and national organizations have publicly endorsed our guidelines.
Recent adoption of GFPP by the City of LA and LA Unified School District (LAUSD) marks a major accomplishment in the strengthening of a sustainable regional food system. On October 24, 2012, the City of Los Angeles became the first institution in the country to sign the Good Food Purchasing Pledge. Just weeks later, the Los Angeles Unified School District—which serves 650,000 meals each day and is the largest food purchaser in Los Angeles—became the second institution to sign on. Through this program, we are working to increase the consumption of Good Food and improve the quality of 750,000 meals served daily by LAUSD and City of LA nutrition programs and facilities. This will also create an economic shift to increase affordability and availability of Good Food, with resulting benefit to the water, air, and public health of all.
With a clear standard to aspire to, institutions will demand better ingredients from producers and provide better meals to consumers. From farm to table, we can change how we eat and change what we buy. We can vote with our food dollars, for a Good Food system, where all residents have access to the bounty of our foodshed. And L.A. can lead the way.
Read our recap of our National Food Day events, which highlights the history and early successes of the Good Food Purchasing Pledge through 2013.