Good Food Purchasing Comes to Buffalo

Newell Nussbaumer

Photo: Partnership for the Public Good

Public schools have never been know much for their wholesome foods served at lunch. There was a time when schools were not held accountable for students’ diets. Food was simply considered sustenance – something to help students to get through the day.

These day, there is mounting pressure to get healthy foods into the hands of students for myriad reasons. Obviously, the state of children’s health in the US has become very worrisome, as obesity rates soar, and dietary related sicknesses abound.

Thankfully, there are a number of local initiatives that are centered around making wholesome foods accessible to public school students. One of the more recent efforts is called Good Food Buffalo – a coalition that is determined to improve upon the following food-driven interests:

  • Wholesome foods
  • Local economies
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Valued workforce
  • Animal welfare

Until recently, these issues were simply swept under the dining room table. Today, we are re-evaluating the importance of sustainable and healthy diets. In order to ensure that certain standards are upheld, Good Food Buffalo will be working hand-in-hand with the Buffalo Public Schools, which will help to “bring national resources to our local community.”

“Student wellness is everyone’s top priority,” said the coalition organizer, Rebekah Williams, of the Massachusetts Avenue Project. “But a school district buys a lot of food, and its choices can help every part of the food system: supporting our local farmers, promoting environmental practices, improving job quality for food-sector workers, and providing for healthy care of farm animals.”

Good Food Buffalo is aptly named. The coalition is setting out to ensure that the District is able to stay on course with programs such as the Farm to School project and the school gardens projects, both of which teach students about the importance of healthy eating, as well where the foods come from… the farm, not the can. The coalition can also tap into best practice eating scenarios from around the world, while partnering with entities that can establish wholesome food pipelines directly to the schools.

Good Food Buffalo is launch its efforts today! Tuesday, April 24 at 5:30pm at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, 450 Masten Ave. The launch includes:

  • National expert Suzanne Adely, of the Good Food Purchasing Program
  • BPS students talking about good food
  • Poetry from a BPS student
  • Bridget O’Brien Wood, director of Child Nutrition Services for BPS
  • Samples of good food from BPS and a local vendor.

At the launch, hosted by Massachusetts Avenue Project and Partnership for the Public Good (PPG), the latter organization will release a major new report, Good Food Purchasing for the Buffalo Public Schools. PPG’s executive director, Sam Magavern, will offer highlights from the report.

Partners in Good Food Buffalo include the following organizations: African Heritage Food Coop, Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization, Crossroads Collective, Food Policy Council for Buffalo and Erie County, Grassroots Gardens, Massachusetts Avenue Project, Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY, Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, Ujima Company, UB Food Lab, and WNYCOSH.

Lead image:  Partnership for the Public Good