Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced San Francisco’s first large-scale food policy, aimed at increasing residents’ access to healthy, local foods, particularly those residents being fed with city dollars.
Newsom’s executive directive adds new health and local-production guidelines in several food-related arenas, from city-funded school lunches to commission meetings-even food carts operating on city grounds.
City spokesman Joe Arellano said the guidelines are intended to promote the region’s food ecosystem and educate residents about the connection between a nutritious diet and good health.
“Health is not just a function of going to the doctor,” he said. “It’s also eating right and being aware of what we’re putting into our bodies.”
The new “healthy and sustainable foods directive” calls for every city department to conduct an audit and identify city-owned land suitable for gardening within the next six months. Any food provided at city meetings or events must be healthy and locally grown whenever possible.
Food carts operating in city spaces, such as Civic Center Plaza, are also subject to the guidelines. Arellano said the current vendor is already promoting fruit and salads instead of soda and chips.
The directive also calls for the introduction of a new law requiring food purchased by the city to be grown within the region, using sustainable farming practices. This would apply to meals in school programs funded by San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth and their Families, or food distributed at city-funded homeless shelters or community centers, according to Arellano.
While the directive does not define terms like “healthy” or “locally grown,” Arellano said the emphasis is on produce and protein grown organically, or using sustainable methods, around the Bay Area.
Arellano stressed that the executive directive offers guidelines, not absolute requirements. The directive asks city offices under Newsom’s authority to make health and sustainability a priority to whatever degree is practical.
“We don’t want to mandate this, we just want to set guidelines to ensure we’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
Newsom announced these actions today, joined by the state food and agriculture secretary, A.G. Kawamura, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.