Local Food Producers May Get Priority In Alameda County

Bea Karnes

The Good Food Purchasing Policy is touted as a way to boost the local economy while increasing the quality of food.

ALAMEDA COUNTY, CA — Alameda County prisoners may soon be able to indulge their inner foodies.

Alameda County Supervisors plan to consider a resolution to change the way food is purchased for the sheriff’s office and probation department.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday to consider a food purchasing policy that looks to support producers, processors, and distributors that value local economies, nutrition, animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and workers’ rights.

“As a public agency which spends significant public dollars on food, the vast majority of which is purchased by the Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department, Alameda County has a responsibility to set a high standard and ensure that public funds are spent in a manner consistent with county values,” wrote Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who is sponsoring the initiative.

In addition to the sheriff’s office and probation department, the resolution would also “Encourage municipalities, schools, hospitals, and other organizations within the County of Alameda to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Policy Values, Framework and Program.”

Under the plan, local purchasing companies, small farmers and food vendors will have increased opportunities for contracts and the county will prioritize purchasing from producers that demonstrate they have a valued workforce.

Originally developed by the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and adopted by the city and the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2012, dozens of entities across the country, such as schools, hospitals, and prisons, have adopted the policy to transform how they purchase food.

Some say the plan saves money while giving people access to higher quality food and supporting the local economy.

The program will be based in Berkeley.