The vendors that supply food served at San Francisco, Calif.’s public schools will be asked to fork over information on the sources of their meals and snacks under a resolution approved unanimously Tuesday by the Board of Education, according to The San Francisco Examiner.
The San Francisco Unified School District does not currently know where the produce, meats, grains and dairy products originate, which cost alongside other food services more than $11 million and make up some 6 million school meals per year.
But that is expected to change within the next six months.
“We spend millions of dollars a year on food service,” said Board of Education President Matt Haney. “We want to know where our food is coming from and who we’re spending our money with.”
Once the data is given to the district, the SFUSD will look over the origins of the food within the year to determine whether they meet a list of standards proposed in the resolution, which was modeled after Los Angeles’ Good Food Purchasing Program that started in 2012.
Those values include buying from local farms and food processing operations that produce healthy foods, have good working conditions for their laborers, are environmentally sustainable and treat animals humanely.
After a year, the district will “set specific goals and targets to develop a multi-year plan to get to the place where we want to be,” said Orla O’Keeffe, SFUSD executive director of policy and operations. Such an effort might include adding the standards to the bidding process for new food suppliers, or deciding how to keep suppliers accountable.
Haney, who co-sponsored the resolution alongside Commissioner Sandra Fewer and Vice President Shamann Walton, said the proposal was spurred by the local Teamsters union that has concerns about the working conditions at a farm in Tracy.
“The school district doesn’t know where all of their produce and foods come from,” said Doug Bloch, political director with Teamsters Joint Council 7. “This will get the ball rolling for the school district to find out who is in their supply chain.”
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