Boston City Council Passes Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance

Written by on March 21, 2019 in Food, Drink & Nutrition, Health with 0 Comments

“In short, the Good Food Purchasing Program helps build the local, sustainable, thriving food culture that we know we need—for the sake of our planet and for the health of generations to come,” said Corporate Accountability’s Alexa Kaczmarski.(Photo: Yarian Gomez/flickr/cc)

By Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams

Food justice advocates heaped praise on Boston Monday after the city’s legislative body unanimously passed an ordinance that boosts the local economy and environment as well as workers, animal welfare, and healthful eating.

“With this passage, Boston has loosened the stranglehold that corporations have over our food system, especially in schools,” said Alexa Kaczmarski, senior organizer at Corporate Accountability, following the vote on the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP).

“This will have ripple effects throughout the entire nation,” she added.

The GFPP, sponsored by Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, affects public food purchasers, the largest of which is the Boston Public Schools, which has a $18 million food budget.

As noted in (pdf) the ordinance, the purchasers will follow a set of standards in order to


  1. Support small and mid-sized agricultural and food processing operations within the local area or region;
  2. Support producers that employ sustainable production systems that reduce or eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers; avoid the use of hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering; conserve soil and water; protect and enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity; and reduce on-farm energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions;
  3. Protect workers’ rights to freedom of association, to organize a union and collectively bargain in order to better ensure safe and healthy working conditions, fair compensation,and access to health insurance and affordable child care for all food chain workers;
  4. Ensure farmers a fair price for their products that covers the cost of production and fair remuneration for their management and labor;
  5. Provide healthy and humane care for farm animals; and
  6. Promote health and well-being by offering generous portions of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains; reducing salt, added sugars, fats, and oils; and by eliminating artificial additives.

The ordinance will also

Encourage prospective food vendors to invest in our disadvantaged and minority communities by including in procurement requests preferences for prospective vendors who demonstrate a track record of hiring and investing in local disadvantaged communities; provide living wages to all their employees, including frontline foodworkers; are local minority, disabled, and/or women-owned businesses; and are local producers and processors operating in low-income communities and employing non-toxic, environmentally sustainable methods

“In short,” said Kaczmarski, “GFPP helps build the local, sustainable, thriving food culture that we know we need—for the sake of our planet and for the health of generations to come.”

The ordinance—which now heads to the mayor’s desk for likely approval before it can be implemented—was backed by a diverse coalition including Corporate Accountability, Farm to Institution New England, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.

“Congratulations to the City of Boston for their leadership in the region,” said Suzanne Adely, content director for the Farm Animal Welfare Campaign of the ASPCA.

“The Good Food Purchasing Policy is not only expected to redirect millions of dollars to local producers and improve nutrition, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare, but also to create the infrastructure to improve wages and working conditions for hundreds of thousands of food workers and their families. Boston Public Schools’ adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program is a huge leap forward in the quest of good food for all,” she continued.

The Boston City Council’s move follows similar food purchasing policies taken by Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Oakland Unified School District, and Chicago Public Schools. But according to food system transformation organization Real Food Media, the New England city took things a step further:

“The Boston ordinance looks to be one of the strongest yet, with explicit language around racial equity outcomes and transparency.”


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to a friend