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Boston City Council Passes Good Food Purchasing Program

Last month, the Boston City Council unanimously voted to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP). GFPP requires the city to meet certain requirements for nutrition, sustainability, animal welfare, and labor, when making food purchases. This policy applies to purchases made by all city agencies, and will have the greatest impact on the Boston Public Schools, which spends approximately $18 million per year on food. GFPP helps ensure that this money is used to purchase healthy food and to support sustainable and responsible producers.

GFPP was developed by the Center for Good Food Purchasing, which helps manage the adoption and implementation of GFPP by cities and institutions. According to the Center, seven GFPP policies have been passed to date at the local or institutional level.

Boston’s ordinance goes beyond the other cities, and includes particularly strong language around racial equity. The ordinance seeks to support vendors that invest in disadvantaged communities — for example, vendors that hire disadvantaged community members, are women- or minority-owned, and pay all workers living wages — by awarding these vendors bonus points in the review process for purchasing contracts.

Boston’s policy also includes robust provisions to increase transparency in the food purchasing process. FLPC worked with a coalition of local advocates to strengthen the language in order to increase opportunities for the public to have their voices heard during the procurement process. We were thrilled to see the Boston City Council adopt language to establish public hearings on purchasing recommendations and require the public release of certain materials related to purchasing, such as vendor proposals and the agency’s evaluations and recommendations of these proposals. The Boston ordinance also creates a Community Advisory Council that will assist with the implementation process.

FLPC looks forward to continuing to work with local stakeholders and with the City of Boston towards implementation of the GFPP, and applauds Boston City Council for this exciting new legislation!

For more information about Boston’s adoption of the GFPP, see the press release.