Good Food Purchasing Program (GFFP)

Boulder Valley School District
Published: 13 May 2019
Last edited: 13 May 2019
remove_red_eye 699 Views


Adopted first by the City of Los Angeles in 2012, the Good Food Purchasing Programme achieved that in L.A. institutions, which serve about 750,000 meals a day, children get more local, sustainable, fair and humanely produced food to eat. The Programme has set off a nationwide movement and inspired the creation of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, which is now promoting the programme across the United States. By now 27 public institutions in 14 U.S. cities are enrolled. Due to its impressive achievements and fast roll-out thoughout the country,  the Good Food Purchasing Program was recognized with an Honourable Mention of the 2018 Future Policy Award, awarded by the World Future Council in partnership with FAO and IFOAM – Organics International.


North America
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Ecosystem services
Food security
Genetic diversity
Legal & policy frameworks
Sustainable financing
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
City management, governance and finance
Resilience and disaster risk management
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Territorial and spatial development
Urban poverty and housing
Erratic rainfall
Extreme heat
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Shift of seasons
Storm surges
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Ecosystem loss
Inefficient management of financial resources
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Social conflict and civil unrest
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Sendai Framework
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Indirect through government


Los Angeles, California, United States of America


California is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food, cotton fibre, and other agricultural commodities, and the largest producer of food (by dollar volume) in the United States. The Greater Los Angeles Area is the nation’s second-most populous urban region, with 18.7 million residents. To address unsustainable food systems, in September 2009, the Mayor  of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa announced the creation of the Los Angeles Food Policy Task Force, which was charged with developing a Good Food policy agenda for Los Angeles. In 2011, the LAFPC Working Group ‘Build a Market for Good Food’ developed the Good Food Purchasing Guidelines for Food Service Institutions, in collaboration with local and national experts in relevant fields. In 2012, Mayor Villaraigosa issued an executive directive impacting all city departments that purchased over $10,000 of food, also supported by the Los Angeles City Council.


Beneficiaries are vulnerable groups such as school children, patients, the elderly as well as local small and mid-sized farms and food processing operations and their workers.

How do the building blocks interact?

By setting the right Objectives (BB1) and through a broad stakeholder consultation, the Good Food Purchsaing Program was designed, Using a metric-based flexible framework for implementation (BB2). The design and success of its implementation in Los Angeles and by Los Angeles Unified School District build its Potential as a Transferable Model (BB3) and kicked off a nationwide movement.


Since 2012, the Good Food Purchasing Program has made a difference in all Los Angeles City Departments and LAUSD that serve together approximately 750,000 meals a day. The extent of its influence on food supply chains can be best examined by focusing on the most prominent example, the LAUSD serving over 600,000 students. The Good Food Purchasing Program increased considerably LAUSD’s purchase of sustainable local products. In the first year of enrolment the LAUSD went from less than 10% local sourcing of produce, to an average of 60% local produce, redirecting USD 12 million to support more sustainable production and avoiding long transport routes. As a result, 150 new well-paid food chain jobs were created in L.A. County, including food processing, manufacturing and distribution. In another example, LAUSD’s bread distributor had been sourcing out-of-state wheat for its USD 45-55 million annual servings of rolls, but today, most of the L.A. school district’s rolls are made from wheat grown on 44 Food Alliance-certified farms in California, milled in downtown L.A., and prices have stayed the same over the last three years. These impacts extend beyond LAUSD as Gold Star Foods now distributes these same products to over 550 schools across the western United States.


Kirsten Boyer Photography

By Ann Cooper, Chef at Boulder Valley School District, which was the first to receive a five star rating from the Good Food Purchasing Programme:


Boulder Valley School District (BVSD)’s designation as the highest ranking Good Food Provider proves it’s possible for school districts with limited budgets to not only excel, but lead the way, in building a food system based on the Program’s values without increasing food costs. Through local food purchasing, BVSD invested $890,700 into the Colorado economy—over 41 percent of its total food spend, which impacts over 2.19 million meals per school year. Almost 10 percent of these purchases came from small, local farms within 200 miles of the school district.


As Chef Ann Cooper notes, it’s these regional producers that help the district meet goals across the five Good Food Purchasing values: “It’s really hard to pick just one or two [local producers to recognize].” Chef Ann extended her gratitude and compliments to heritage meat producers, a small local tamale company, a broker who helps small growers aggregate products so they can sell to the district, and “nine farmers [who] are excellent partners in Good Food because not only do they provide us with the highest quality produce, but we collaborate with them to provide educational opportunities to our students, both in cafeterias and on the farms. Our farmers work hard every day to ensure that our community has access to the most nutritious foods while practicing environmentally sustainable agriculture and supporting the staff with fair, livable wages.”


Chef Ann also highlights the important role the district can have in providing some level of certainty to farmers, even as weather threatens to devastate harvests: “Right now I’m most inspired by our ability to support local farmers, even when Mother Nature is fighting against them, as happened with several hail storms this year. Even when some of the produce is damaged, and perhaps not sellable at market, we can purchase those items in large quantities to help our farmers stay in business. And when we pair that with being able to feed kids delicious, healthy food, it’s a win-win for us.”

Contributed by

Ingrid Heindorf World Future Council (WFC)

Other contributors

Center for Good Food Purchasing
Center for Good Food Purchasing