The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability is committed to developing a healthy and just food system in Austin and promoting sustainable practices in food production, distribution, consumption, and recovery. In the fall of 2015, the Food Policy Manager for the City of Austin convened local institutional partners to discuss current food procurement practices. These conversations led the group to learn about the Good Food Purchasing Program, which offers a value driven framework and set of tools that partners can use to assist with goal setting, measuring progress, and celebrating successes around purchasing good food.
In May 2016 the Austin coalition launched an effort to implement the Program, with pilot partners at the Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin leading the way as the first two organizations to pilot the Good Food Purchasing Program in Texas. In February 2019, Austin Independent School District became the first school district in the state to officially adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program.
Since the program kicked off in May 2016, pilot partners have begun working with the Center for Good Food Purchasing to determine how they can track their purchasing along the five value categories and gather more data from the vendors they are currently working with. The adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program amplifies and celebrates the existing mission and values of both partner institutions.
The Nutrition & Food Services Department at Austin Independent School District is committed to providing fresh, healthy and sustainably raised foods to students across Austin, serving over 77,000 meals each school day. Equity and food access are important district values to ensure that all students have access to the same food choices each day. Austin ISD has incorporated more local items on their menus, spending 47 percent of their total food budget during school year 2015-16, in the state of Texas. Organic, antibiotics-free and non-GMO foods are also offered in all cafeterias.
The Housing and Food Service, part of the Division of Students Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, seeks to foster a living and learning experience of environmental stewardship and sustainability awareness. In the last year, the department reduced the university’s ecological footprint by sourcing over 525,000 pounds of produce from on-campus community gardens and local farms. Staff makes sustainability practices a guiding principle, raising awareness through campus-wide events and training initiatives.
The Austin Coalition of the Good Food Purchasing Program seeks to celebrate and communicate the amazing work that is already underway locally, and through collective impact, direct funds towards Good Food suppliers that strengthen our community.
LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED
- Austin Convention Center
- American Heart Association
- Austin Independent School District
- Austin Travis County Food Policy Board
- City of Austin, Austin Resource Recovery
- City of Austin, Central Purchasing
- City of Austin, Health and Human Services
- Sustainable Food Center
- Texas Center for Local Food
- University of Texas at Austin