Using a metric-based flexible framework for implementation

Published: May 2019
Last edited: May 2019

The Good Food Purchasing Program’s metric-based, flexible framework encourages large public institutions to measure and then make shifts in their food purchases. By adopting the framework, food service institutions commit to improving their regional food system by implementing meaningful purchasing standards in all five value categories:

  • Local Economics: the Good Food Purchasing Program supports local small and mid-sized agricultural and food processing operations.
  • Environmental Sustainability: the Good Food Purchasing Progam requires institutions to source at least 15% of the food from producers that employ sustainable production systems.
  • Valued Workforce: the Good Food Purchasing Policy promotes safe and healthy working conditions and fair compensation for all food chain workers and producers.
  • Animal Welfare: the Good Food Purchasing Policy promotes healthy and humane care for farm animals.
  • Nutrition: Finally, the Good Food Purchasing Policy promotes health and well-being by outlining best practices that offer generous portions of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and minimally processed foods, while reducing salt, added sugars, saturated fats, and red meat consumption, and eliminating artificial additives.


Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Enforcement and prosecution
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Documentation and dissemination of results

Enabling factors

The Good Food Purchasing Program is nationally regarded as the most comprehensive and metric-based food procurement policy in the country. Verification, scoring and recognition are central components. When an institution enrolls in the Good Food Purchasing Program, staff of the Center for Good Food Purchasing work with them to collect in depth information about purchasing and food service practices.

Lessons learned

To become a Good Food Provider, the food service institution has to at least meet the baseline (equal to one point) in each of the five values. Meeting even higher standards results in more points being awarded. The accumulation of points across all values is used to calculate and award a star rating. The baseline and higher standard purchasing criteria are set out in the Good Food Purchasing Standards, which are updated every five years, most recently in September 2017. There are five status levels of a Good Food Purchaser (1-5 Stars) that correspond to a respective range of points. In order to achieve a 5 Star level, the institution must achieve 25 or more points. As of June 2018, five out of 27 institutions have achieved a star rating, amongst them Boulder Valley School District that achieved 5 Stars in 2017 and Oakland Unified School District that achieved 4 Stars in 2016. After one year, purchasers are expected to increase the amount of Good Food that they purchase.