-The Nonprofit Group Encourages Districts Nationwide to Do the Same –
Over the years, member districts of the Urban School Food Alliance (Alliance) have seen the effects local procurement has on getting students excited about trying new foods, improving their behaviors and attitudes towards fruits and vegetables, and increasing their knowledge about where their food is grown and sourced. That’s why our coalition of the largest school districts in the U.S. have collectively set a goal to increase our local food purchase by at least five percent by the 2021-2022 school year – amounting to a total of $100 million local procurement annually. The goal aims to work with local food producers to stimulate local economies, while providing the freshest, highest quality foods possible for the health and wellness of students.
“Given this positive impact, we want to make sure we provide more locally sourced foods to our students,” said Michael Rosenberger, chairman of the Alliance and executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services at Dallas Independent School District. “As the Alliance works towards our goal of increasing local procurement, we hope that other school districts around the country will join us in prioritizing the sourcing and serving of local foods, while educating students about where their food comes from.”
Subject to local purchasing requirements and board policies, our Alliance districts seek to increase local food spend by five percent by the 2021-2022 school year, with the additional goal to increase local food purchase by one percent annually thereafter.
Our Alliance’s local food purchasing goal will also:
- Forge new partnerships with community businesses and farmers to engage with the K-12 food service market, thereby stimulating local economic activity
- Further engage in nutrition education and farm-to-school activities in each of the Alliance districts; Such activities will provide students with hands-on lessons about where food comes from, while supplying cafeteria staff with marketing tools to amplify locally sourced menu items
- Support and inform state and federal policies that champion farm-to-school and local food procurement efforts
- Reduce carbon footprint when it comes to sourcing school food
Our 10 Urban School Food Alliance districts enroll nearly 3.3 million students. We collectively serve 584 million meals every year, with an annual procurement budget of $755 million. Together, we use our influence with industry and their combined purchasing power to improve the quality and sustainability of school food, while driving the costs down. We currently procure the following items locally: fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and flour, meat, poultry, fish, condiments, herbs, eggs and dairy.