The Buffalo Public School (BPS) district spends $13.5 million dollars each year to serve roughly 53,000 meals per day.
The Good Food Buffalo coalition is urging local institutions, such as the Buffalo school district, to bring the Good Food Purchasing Program to our region because children and all people deserve access to healthy food, and food that values workers, animals, and the environment, while lifting local communities out of poverty.
The Good Food Buffalo coalition grew out of three local efforts:
1) A partnership between community members and the Buffalo Public Schools Farm to School Initiative, which sought to bring more local, nutritious food into Buffalo schools and engage students interested in improving school food.
2) The Crossroads Coalition’s efforts to build a just transition to a new economy in Buffalo. Learn more here.
3) Events organized by the Peoples Food Movement, which sought to engage communities in Buffalo and Erie County in guiding food policy for the region. Learn more here.
- Racial equity is a primary concern for founding members of the Good Food Buffalo coalition. In January 2019, Twin Cities Good Food Purchasing Program Coordinator, Zoe Hollomon, traveled to Buffalo to lead a training entitled “Racial Equity in the Food System Timeline.” Twice in 2019, both in April and October, nationally renowned speaker and author of Farming While Black, Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm, came to Buffalo to meet with the community and Coalition partners. In October, the Coalition encouraged support for Black and minority small farmers through a public Harvest Festival event, and attended a meeting of Black farmers with New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard Ball.
- The Coalition continued to work in partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS). In January, Coalition partners toured the BPS Food Commissar and visited several different types of school cafeterias. In October, the Coalition heard a presentation by BPS Food Service Director and Cornell Cooperative Extension staff on the Buffalo Farm to School Initiative and its overlapping values with the Good Food Purchasing Program. By the end of the year, the BPS signed a contract with the Center for Good Food Purchasing to conduct a baseline assessment. Coalition members developed relationships with key leaders from BPS and identified parent and student engagement as critical to its efforts. Through the October Harvest Festival, the Coalition further nurtured relationships with students, parents, and school communities.
- The Coalition focused on developing organizational and governance structures to support accountability, transparency, and more effective partnerships. In May and June, the Coalition facilitated a robust community process, which engaged grassroots partners in drafting language for a potential resolution for Buffalo Public Schools. At the close of the year, the Coalition had begun drafting governance documents to encourage action and group decision-making.
- Individuals involved with member organizations represented the Good Food Buffalo Coalition at several state and national convenings: Friends of the Earth Greening NY Food in Albany, NY; The Power of Procurement Summit in Chicago, IL; the Good Food Communities Planning Meeting in Oakland, CA; and the NOFA-NY Winter Conference.
- The Good Food Buffalo Coalition was launched by Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) in April of 2018 and is now comprised of more than 20 local and national groups (see below).
- In April, Partnership for the Public Good (PPG) published a report on the state of school food in Buffalo. The report was followed by the release of a shorter policy brief.
- Shortly after the Good Food Buffalo Coalition launched, local groups learned that the Chicago Food Policy Action Council had won the adoption of the first county-wide Good Food Purchasing Program policy in Cook County, IL. Several Good Food Buffalo coalition partners visited Chicago to learn from their successes. We engaged in a thought partnership with the Chicago coalition to learn from its challenges and strategies.
- In December 2018, the 284 groups that are members of the Partnership for the Public Good elected to include a campaign to promote the adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program in Buffalo Public Schools as one of its ten advocacy planks for their 2019 community agenda.
IN 2017 :
- In April, community partners engaged in the BPS Farm to School initiative and members of the Crossroads Collective food justice efforts coalesced at the People’s Food Movement to advocate bringing the Good Food Purchasing Program to Buffalo.
- Following that event, several community partners and national partners from the Food Chain Workers Alliance hosted a webinar on the Good Food Purchasing Program to help local groups gain a better understanding of the Program.
- Later that year, youth at Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) in Buffalo worked on creating podcasts highlighting their interest in the Good Food Purchasing Program. Those podcasts can be heard here.
LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED
- Massachusetts Avenue Project
- African Heritage Food Co-op
- Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization
- Buffalo Teacher Federation
- Crossroads Coalition
- Fruit Belt Advisory Council
- Grassroots Gardens WNY
- Grooperative Inc.
- Massachusetts Avenue Project
- Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY
- Open Buffalo
- Partnership for the Public Good
- Pelion Garden at City Honors School
- Sierra Club Buffalo-Niagara
- SunniBlu Health and Wellness
- SPCA of Erie County
- UB Food Lab
- Ujima Company, Inc.
- Urban Fruits & Veggies
- WNY Area Labor Federation
- WNY Council on Occupational Safety & Health