Changing the world through the power of food

CSPI’s vision for public food procurement and food service

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Our federal, state, and local governments leverage public food purchasing and food service to model healthier food environments, improve diet quality and health, and transform the food system to advance racial equity, climate justice, and food sovereignty.

Spending of public food dollars transparently reflects community values, including human health, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, valued workforce, and local economies. This vision is realized in all manner of anchor institutions such as government buildings, parks, hospitals, universities, and correctional facilities, and programs, like congregate or home-delivered meals for older adults, children, or people with disabilities. The increased demand fosters product reformulation and innovation throughout the food supply, and the increased supply improves access to healthier, ethically produced foods and beverages for all consumers. 

We actualize this vision by advocating for comprehensive, values-aligned public food purchasing and service policies that  

  • advance healthy diets according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and  

  • advance the values and core principles defined in the Anchors in Action Aligned Framework (AiA). 

A note to readers

Some resources in this toolkit focus on applying one value to public food purchasing (e.g., an example policy establishing nutrition standards for city agencies in New York City), while others focus on more than one (e.g., a Solicitations Toolkit for values-based food procurement) or all the values of interest (e.g., a case study of the process of enacting Boston’s GFPP ordinance). While we recommend that new policies address all of the values in the AiA Framework, there are broadly applicable lessons and best practices to be gleaned from prior efforts with a narrower scope. Furthermore, depending on the community, it may be pragmatic to begin by addressing one value to lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive approach.