If you skipped down below, you saw that Joann is the Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of workers’ organizations, and Jill is Director of Business and Culinary Development of Coosemans Shipping of L.A., a specialty produce distribution company. So, you may be wondering – what are these two doing writing a blog post together?
We are co-chairs of the Good Food Procurement working group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, an initiative of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Over the past year and a half, our diverse group – including labor organizations, businesses, non-profit groups, school food service officials, public health advocates, and many more – has developed the Good Food Purchasing Pledge. And the L.A. City Council is poised to adopt the pledge via the Good Food Purchasing and Procurement Motion, sponsored by Councilmember Paul Koretz, this Wednesday, October 24 — now known as Food Day in the U.S. (Update: On October 24 the L.A. City Council and the Mayor unanimously adopted the Good Food Purchasing Pledge.)
The Good Food Purchasing Pledge is the most comprehensive procurement policy in the country. Many cities and other government entities around the country have adopted food procurement policies focused on nutrition standards or preference for locally produced food, and a few cities, including Los Angeles, have sweatfree purchasing policies that include food. But none have an inclusive procurement policy that addresses support for the local economy, sustainable production, a valued workforce, animal welfare and nutrition.
That’s about to change because the Good Food Purchasing Pledge encompasses all five of those values. And because these guidelines are so comprehensive, our working group has been able to bring together folks that maybe normally wouldn’t work together, including the two of us.
Residents in Los Angeles County spend more than $25 billion annually on food and account for the largest produce market in the country, with approximately $4 billion spent on produce each year. Due to the size of this market, the L.A. Food Policy Council is taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity to leverage the purchasing power of large-scale institutions like the City of Los Angeles, area school districts, hospitals, and universities to promote healthy, local, fair, and sustainable food systems. Increased demand for fairly and sustainably produced food from large institutions like these influences producers’ production decisions, encouraging them to shift towards more environmentally and socially sustainable growing practices, thereby improving environmental, economic, and public health and increasing social equity in the region.
So join us Wednesday, October 24, 9 a.m., for Food Day at City Hall. Each working group of the L.A. Food Policy Council will have a table to share information about its work, and the Mayor and other leaders will speak as well. Then we’ll move into the City Council chambers to speak in support of two resolutions:
- A Food Day Resolution declaring the City Council’s support for Good Food policy priorities and recognizing L.A.’s commitment to Good Food; and
- The Good Food Purchasing and Procurement Motion.
Come be a part of making history!
Joann Lo is Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of unions, worker centers, and workers’ rights advocacy organizations throughout the food system. Jill Overdorf is the Director of Business and Culinary Development and Corporate Chef for Coosemans Shipping of Los Angeles, a specialty produce company.