Healthy School Food Initiative Nourishes L.A.'s Economy
"In a groundbreaking effort, the nation's second-largest school district is using its enormous purchasing clout to support local farmers and businesses," writes Teresa Watanabe. "In just two years, the district has boosted its local purchases of fruit and vegetables from 9% of its $20-million annual produce budget to 75% today. L.A. Unified now buys locally for at least 50% of its overall $125-million food budget, about double the proportion of two years ago, according to David Binkle, the district's food services director."
"The preference for products that originate within about 200 miles of Los Angeles was formalized last year by the Board of Education, which also directed the district to purchase 5% of its produce from small-to-medium-sized farmers."
"The leadership LAUSD has shown in this area has resonated not only locally but also nationally," said Paula Daniels, founder and chairwoman of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. "By expressing support for these values through their purchases, the impact all along the food chain is profound."