Oakland Unified School District Nutrition Services spends about $9 million on food, serves nearly 20,000 daily lunches per day, and is an important source of healthy food for children in the district–about 68% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
OUSD is nationally recognized for their innovative approach to enhancing and fine-tuning the quality of food and services offered through its meal program. Efforts such as School Food Focus’ National Learning Lab, Center for Ecoliteracy’s California Thursdays, and Meatless Mondays have helped the District make substantial progress with their farm-to-school efforts. To help measure the impact of these initiatives and identify new sourcing goals, OUSD has worked with the Center for Good Food Purchasing since 2014 to analyze how their purchasing patterns align with the Good Food Purchasing Program’s values and standards.
The Oakland Food Policy Council, HOPE Collaborative, and Teamsters Joint Council 7 have played a critical role in engaging allies from a variety of sectors to support the district’s leadership and encourage continued progress through the policy’s adoption. A particularly exciting aspect of the Oakland Good Food Purchasing Campaign is youth involvement. Organized under the auspices of the HOPE Collaborative, local youth leaders of the Youth Action Board launched a letter-writing campaign, are developing short videos to be shared on social media, and are engaging students in the adoption and implementation process of the Good Food Purchasing Program.