Each weekday, the Los Angeles Unified School District serves over 700,000 meals.

Daniels: “School districts by and large are the largest food service provider in any given region.”

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That’s Paula Daniels of the Center for Good Food Purchasing. The center measures how institutions’ buying habits align with values such as nutrition, animal welfare, and sustainability.

Daniels: “If they see where their purchases are going, and they see how it comports with these values, they can start thinking about how to make some differences.”

The center helps organizations across the country set goals and track progress. It considers issues like carbon pollution, water use, and fertilizer practices. And it determines whether purchases meet other existing standards such as USDA organic.

Daniels: “Within a year of adopting the Good Food Purchasing program, L.A. Unified School District went from sourcing less than 10% local produce per year to an average of 60% local produce per year.”

And its bread supplier began using more sustainably grown wheat.

Daniels: “We knew that if purchasing power was aggregated and directed toward these values, it would make a difference in the regional food economy – and we know that it already has.”

Reporting credit: Rachel Gulbraa/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Fruit-bar-pic—Web / Flickr.