Schools, Hospitals Support California Sustainable Food Producers

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Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 7:40 pm

MODESTO, Calif. -- School Food Focus and Health Care Without Harm announced ProCureWorks, a collaboration between two of the largest institutional food service sectors, public school districts and health care systems.

"ProCureWorks leverages the combined purchasing power of over 530 schools and 55 hospitals across three California communities to create healthier food choices for the well-being of children, patients, staff and families," said School Food Focus Executive Director Toni Liquori. "This innovative cross-sector collaboration catalyzes meaningful change in our food system, as we demonstrate how the power of procurement can transform supply chains across California and nationwide."

Hospitals and school districts are major purchasers of healthy food and serve as anchor institutions in the community. Rooted in place, both hold significant investments in social capital and are oriented toward community health goals. ProCureWorks wields nearly $100 million in purchasing power. The initiative has identified three product categories to start with: beef, grains and poultry. All ProCureWorks products will be raised and/or grown in California and meet the nutritional standards of the 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act as well as the School Food Focus Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing and Health Care Without Harm’s sustainable purchasing guidelines.

"By leveraging collective purchasing power, ProCureWorks is strengthening and clearly articulating the increased institutional demand for healthy food that is locally produced and supports a sustainable food system," said Lucia Sayre, Western U.S. Regional Director, Healthy Food in Health Care for Health Care Without Harm. "We are excited to see the impact this initiative will have on our food economy across the state."

This powerful network of food service leaders across two institutions is already bringing transparency and accountability that was previously absent from sustainable food procurement. The largest poultry producer in California, 22 percent of Foster Farms’ total poultry production is now USDA process-verified and NAE certified. In 2015, Foster Farms announced a line of No Antibiotics Ever poultry products, further demonstrating their commitment to the ProCureWorks Guidelines for Food Products.

"We are proud to be one of the first companies to begin collaborating with ProCureWorks," said Jeff Jarchow Senior Marketing Manager for Foodservice at Foster Farms. "It demonstrates our deep commitment to working with our institutional customers to provide products that support the health of communities throughout California."

In addition to sourcing healthier poultry products, ProCureWorks is aggregating the demand for grass fed organic ground beef and sourcing verified small batch whole grains, all produced in California. The initiative is expected to expand to 25 school districts and 16 hospital systems over the next three years.

The participating school districts of ProCureWorks include: Davis Joint Unified School District, Elk Grove Unified School District, Oakland Unified School District, Oxnard Elementary School District and San Diego Unified School District

The eight participating health systems, representing 55 facilities, include: John Muir Health, Kaiser Permanente, Palomar Health System, San Francisco Veteran's Affairs, Stanford Medical Center, Sutter Health, UC Medical Centers, and Washington Hospital Health System.

SOURCE: Health Care Without Harm

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