The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to investigate the feasibility of a “good food” purchasing program that supports local jobs, healthier eating, environmental sustainability and the humane treatment of animals.
Supervisor Janice Hahn championed the plan, saying she wants to make L.A. County the largest in the nation to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Policy.
The county purchases 37 million meals and snacks each year for youth lunch programs, senior meal services, jail inmates and staff cafeterias.
“Our budgets reflect our values and we should use L.A. County’s massive purchasing power to support a principled food system that gives back to our local economy,” Hahn said. “This is about more than just food — this is about using food as a tool to invest in good local jobs, environmental sustainability and the health of our children.”
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who co-authored the motion, said the county should be a leader in the movement.
“Expanding healthy food options within our county facilities is about putting into practice what we preach,” he said. “Our county should be a model for how workplaces can lead the charge in promoting a more healthy society.”
The policy would also promote equity, said Clare Fox, executive director of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.
“All communities deserve access to good food, grown with respect for people and the planet,” Fox said. “This policy creates new market opportunities across our region while fighting hunger and unequal access to healthy food that we see in underserved communities.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District adopted the policy in 2012 and has cut meat purchases by 28 percent and reduced water use by 1 billion gallons annually, according to the Center for Good Food Purchasing’s website. The district’s largest food distributor also changed its purchasing plans, choosing to buy from California farmers for the first time and milling wheat in Los Angeles. More than 80 percent of all bread products served in LAUSD schools now come from sustainably produced wheat grown in California, according to the center.
The Good Food Purchasing Policy is a commitment to improve the regional food system by implementing meaningful standards in five key areas, including local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition. More information can be found at www.goodfoodpurchasing.org.