11 November 2019
The New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a resolution last Thursday, November 7th in support of local food procurement by New Orleans anchor institutions. The legislation stems from recent efforts by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation and the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee to encourage local, anchor institutions to shift their food procurement activities to more local, equitable, and environmentally sound food sources.
Institutional procurement — the process through which institutions such as hospitals, schools, and universities, purchase food — offers one of the most powerful opportunities to build a food system that promotes equitable health for communities. By localizing food procurement, institutions can provide more nutritious foods for their customers, many of whom may be vulnerable, food-insecure populations.
The resolution, approved on a unanimous vote, acknowledges that New Orleans’ anchor institutions serve over 1 million customers, patients, and employees per year, giving them some of the largest purchasing power in the city. In addition, it acknowledges that this vast buying power has the ability to transform our local food system by creating opportunities for local farmers and farmers of color, while also increasing access to fresh, nutritious foods. Resolution No. R-19-456 resolves that the City of New Orleans supports local food procurement by New Orleans anchor institutions in an effort to improve the health and wealth of our community. “Local institutions can play a big role in supporting the local economy by shifting their food dollars to local farmers and food businesses. We hope this resolution is a step toward a more equitable, sustainable food system in New Orleans,” says Elisa Munoz-Miller, Executive Director of the New Orleans Food Policy Advocacy Committee.
Additional details of local procurement efforts can be found in the Farm to Institution New Orleans: Feasibility and Pilot Study, conducted by Propeller and the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee. This study analyzes the pathways towards a more equitable, resilient local food economy and uncovers the $2 million in economic impact that a 20% local food procurement shift can create. (http://gopropeller.org/files/applications/farm-to-institution-new-orleans-single-sheet.pdf/)