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Good Food Purchasing Program

Directs the City's buying power towards quality food that delivers health to people, communities, and the planet.

"I hope that growing the Good Food Purchasing Program will bring the issue of food justice to a wider audience and build momentum for systemic change. So many of us take food for granted as a basic need that has to be met without realizing that the food supply is rife with abuses - of workers, animals, environment, and health - and we have the power to change that. The return to local, sustainable, fair, humane, and healthy is one of the most fundamental shifts to build a better future." - Mayor Michelle Wu


The City of Boston commits to ensuring that the places that feed our communities buy food that advances a good food system for all.

In 2019, Boston passed a Good Food Purchasing Program Ordinance. The standards affect the health, sustainability, and working conditions in Boston communities. The policy also boosts economic opportunity and is centered in racial equity. Plus, it lifts up stakeholder participation in the Ordinance's implementation process.

The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) is a collaborative citywide initiative led by the Office of Food Justice to harness the power of municipal institutional food purchasing to achieve social, environmental, and economic goals. The program provides a framework that uses five core values to guide public purchasing behavior: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition.
The program uses buying power to: 
  • make healthy eating easier for people
  • put public dollars in the hands of vendors who protect the environment, treat animals with respect, and honor racial diversity
  • keep city dollars in the local economy
  • examine and address the impact of our food purchases on the climate

Food system transformation is a long term process but if we excel in Good Food Purchasing, we're going to drive positive change across the local, regional, and even global food system. It impacts the well-being of Bostonians now and for future generations.



goals of good food purchasing

needs review
transparency and accountability

We need a fuller picture of where our food comes from, who makes it, and how it is made. Good Food Purchasing provides an opportunity to see how public funds for food are being used. Good Food Purchasing:

  • provides institutions and the communities they serve with better information about the supply-chain of our food
  • ensures public contracts reflect community values
  • increases community participation in decision-making processes
  • helps shape how taxpayer dollars are spent
fruit basket
local food supply

Together, we can use public dollars to build a more resilient regional food system. Good Food Purchasing:

  • grows market access for small, regional producers who may otherwise have difficulty competing with large corporations 
  • directs municipal spending towards BIPOC-owned businesses
  • helps farmers and farmland thrive
transform food systems

Our industrial food system is fragile and inequitable. It is not designed to provide equitable access to nutritious food and good jobs or to protect human and animal rights or our planet. Good Food Purchasing:

  • provides better access to healthy food
  • fosters worker protection, safe and healthy working conditions, and fair compensation for all food chain workers and producers
  • incentivizes sustainable production systems that reduce energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
  • prioritizes protecting animals from habitat destruction and from inhumane conditions



MARCH 2023

Boston's Good Food Purchasing Program is starting with Food and Nutrition Services at Boston Public Schools (BPS), the city's largest purchaser of food. BPS is implementing the GFPP framework, beginning with a baseline assessment of food purchasing from the 2019-2020 school year.

Learn More About the Assessment


frequently asked questions


To implement Boston’s Good Food Purchasing Program Ordinance, the Office of Food Justice will partner with Boston Public Schools and other City agencies with large scale food contracts to:

  • work with the Center for Good Food Purchasing to review data and examine food purchases through baseline assessments
  • create a community advisory council to build transparency
  • improve data collection and shift purchasing 
  • assess progress over time

Adopting Good Food Purchasing shifts the food system by changing demand on a large scale. Good Food Purchasing is expected to redirect millions of dollars to local producers and improve nutrition, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. It is also expected to create the infrastructure to improve wages and working conditions for hundreds of thousands of food workers and their families.

There are 63 institutions and 11 local coalitions—in 25 cities and counties across the country that have committed to the Good Food Purchasing Program. Together, these institutions spend over $1.1 billion on food each year.

Los Angeles adopted GFPP in 2012. That 10+ year commitment to GFPP has achieved:

  • for school meals: 21% less processed meats served to students, an estimated 1.3% reduction in chronic risk disease, an estimated $563k reduction in annual healthcare costs
  • $12 million redirected to purchase local produce
  • 220 new well-paying food chain jobs created in Los Angeles County, including food processing, manufacturing, and distribution

The Center for Good Food Purchasing shares more stories and successes from cities here.

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