Model & Strategy
Each year institutions – like cities and school districts – spend billions of dollars on food. Many of these institutions recognize that their food purchases can have a major impact on improving the food system, but have no idea where their food is coming from or how it was produced. The Center for Good Food Purchasing offers the framework and tools to help make values-based food procurement work.
Through the Good Food Purchasing Program, the Center works with institutions to increase supply chain transparency, provide third party, independent analysis to show institutions how their current food purchases align with a set of holistic food procurement standards, and empower a national network of institutions with better information, leveraging their collective buying power to drive large-scale market shifts towards five core values – local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, nutrition and animal welfare. The Good Food Purchasing Program is a leading food procurement model nationally and the first of its kind to support these food system values in equal measure. The Center for Good Food Purchasing works with national partners, local food policy councils and grassroots coalitions, administrators, and elected officials in cities across the country to transfer, scale, and network the Good Food Purchasing Program.
The Center for Good Food Purchasing’s origins date back to 2009, when co-founders Alexa Delwiche and Paula Daniels began working together to build the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (founded by Paula Daniels). While at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Delwiche and Daniels, along with a broad network of partners, launched the Good Food Purchasing Program. In 2015, following successful adoption and implementation in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Unified School District and City of LA, Delwiche and Daniels founded the Center for Good Food Purchasing to guide the national expansion of the Good Food Purchasing Program.
Delwiche’s passion for procurement as a tool to accelerate food system change began when she worked for the United Farm Workers. While at the UFW, she witnessed firsthand the complexities of agricultural supply chains, how little consumers really know about how their food is produced, and how challenging it can be for individual consumers to influence food system change. Just like individuals, major food buying institutions don’t know where their food is coming from either, but they spend billions of dollars on food each year and with the right framework and tools, they can be a powerful force to create greater transparency in our food system and ensure that food is not just healthy for individuals, but also healthy for workers, producers, communities, animals, and the environment. It was this recognition that led Delwiche to spearhead the development, launch and expansion of the Good Food Purchasing Program, which has now spread to over one dozen cities nationally. In 2016, on behalf of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, Alexa was selected as one of five recipients of the Union of Concerned Scientist’s Science Champion award as an example of how standing with science is improving society. Alexa holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Since 2015, the Good Food Purchasing Program has expanded to major school districts in Austin, Chicago, Oakland and San Francisco, influencing over $300 million in public food dollars to improve the food system. Expansion efforts are underway in a dozen other cities, including New York, Washington D.C., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Cincinnati, and Denver.
Their goal is to gain Good Food Purchasing Program commitments from 125 institutions across 30 US cities by 2020, leveraging over $1.5 billion in institutional food purchases to improve the food system and increase access to healthier meals for over 6 million students.
Within two years of adopting the Program, LA Unified School District has demonstrated promising supply chain impacts, including:
o Redirected $12 million toward local produce growers
o 150 new food-processing jobs created
o 15% reduction in meat purchases
o Over 600,000 Los Angeles students benefit from healthier meals with positive impacts on the economic and environmental health of the region
o $70 million in contracts awarded for chicken produced without routine antibiotics