Local Food Procurement
You may make an effort to satisfy a healthy diet by buying produce locally, but what about the businesses and institutions we frequent?
Imagine the impact if our schools, hospitals, and restaurants adopted the practice of purchasing produce locally. Local food economies would have large scale support, food would be fresher, and this practice can improve the environment.
One challenge these businesses and organizations face is the restriction of their contracts. Per contract, majority of their food purchases must be through US Foods, the tenth largest private company in America that provides both brand names and in-house brand fresh, prepared, and frozen foods.
We can see the concept of local food procurement manifest in the film Cafeteria Man staring Chef Tony Geraci. He shows his audience hope for “farm to school” procurement practices, establishing contracts with local farmers.
He found the school lunch faction of the food industry to be a heavily regulated industry, noting that the notion of child nutrition is often a profit driven business. To support this point, Geraci asserts that with problems of child health such as diabetes, the effort seems to be toward managing it rather than erasing it.
However Geraci sees progress in school lunch slowly becoming “less of a program” and more of a “vehicle for wellness”. Some of the students in the film had the awesome opportunity to speak to Congress advocating for local food procurement by schools.