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The Rockefeller Foundation Announces Over $10 Million To Increase Equitable and Sustainable Food Procurement Practices Across the U.S.

Grants to nine organizations will help public and private institutions scale place-based programs and advance national initiatives

NEW YORK | October 3, 2022 – The Rockefeller Foundation announced more than $10 million in funding and collaborative efforts to galvanize shifts in public and private procurement dollars to support a better food system through the purchase of more environmentally sustainable and locally sourced food. The funding will be dispersed to nine grantees and build off of the Foundation’s Good Food Strategy announced in March.

“Institutions like schools and hospitals across the U.S. spend as much as $120 billion on food annually, which means they have tremendous influence over our diets and our food system through their purchasing decisions,” said Noah Cohen-Cline, Director of the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation. “At this scale, their food purchasing dollars can make a real impact on access to healthier food, stronger local economies, environmental health, and more equitable returns to farmers of color, food workers, and suppliers who have been excluded in the past.”

The Foundation’s largest grant to support good food procurement is to Amalgamated Charitable Foundation, Inc. to help launch Growing Justice, a collaborative funding effort to expand equitable good food procurement. This recently launched and first-of-its-kind practitioner-designed fund aims to support community-based, BIPOC-led organizations across the country in driving good food purchasing strategies. The initiative will strive to improve access to good food, particularly for marginalized communities, while supporting diverse local and regional leaders, partnerships, and new approaches that change how community institutions buy their food. The Foundation has led this collaboration with five other founding funders and a cohort of food system practitioners representing diverse communities across the country.

“True transformation in our food systems will require innovative new approaches like this one,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “By centering people of color across the food value chain, Growing Justice will increase access to good food while stimulating the kind of equitable economic growth that can make opportunity universal and sustainable.”

The Rockefeller Foundation has been working since 2019 to help institutions improve their procurement practices. The Foundation will continue this work through its new Good Food Strategy by expanding support to underserved farmers and suppliers in the food value chain, and by educating and informing  regulations and policies that help this work go even further to support the most underserved. The Foundation is providing funding to and working in close collaboration with school nutrition directors, and their allies, and in close partnership with other organizations that share this vision including:

Advancing national tools, standards, and initiatives

  • Community Partners to support Center for Good Food Purchasing to develop impact analysis tools for tracking and analyzing institutional food purchasing data, so it can be used to encourage the delivery of healthier food to low-income populations; and for promoting good food purchasing by institutions and government agencies to catalyze regional and national food system transformation to achieve health, climate, economic and equity impacts.
  • Health Care Without Harm to support their Healthy Food in Health Care initiative to leverage the food purchasing power of hospitals to increase the supply of healthy, sustainable, and equitably sourced food for vulnerable populations; the creation of a unified, values-based food procurement standard for adoption by schools, hospitals, universities, and public agencies; and establishing and a coalition of organizations that seek to advance good food procurement policies among federal agencies, in coordination with Center for Good Food Purchasing, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Friends of the Earth.
  • Tides Center to support the National Farm to School Network to develop and deploy a strategic communications campaign advancing education around values-aligned school meals.
  • Urban School Food Alliance to support coordinated efforts of member districts to share best practices on providing healthy, delicious meals to students and leverage purchasing power to drive food quality up and costs down while incorporating sound environmental practices.
  • Winrock Solutions, LLC. to support The Wallace Center to aid in implementation and evaluation of USDA’s federal grant programs to purchase healthy food with a focus on local and socially disadvantaged farmers and to distribute the food to institutions such as public schools, early childcare, and food banks.

Supporting place-based efforts

  • Amalgamated Charitable Foundation, Inc. will support Growing Justice, a collaborative funding effort on equitable good food procurement. This recently launched, first-of-its-kind practitioner-designed effort aims to support community-based, BIPOC-led organizations across the country in driving good food purchasing strategies.
  • Community Services Unlimited, Inc. to support the Equitable Food Oriented Development Collaborative invest in BIPOC food businesses and projects that advance community-led solutions and their cultivation of a network of community-controlled efforts.
  • Cornell University to support research to assess the economic, health, and environmental impacts on food and to develop a more transparent public procurement process in New York State.
  • The Chicago Food Policy Action Council to support local government’s implementation of its Good Food Purchasing Initiative goals, developing equitable food supply chains, and working to build a good food culture across all community-based institutions.

The Foundation’s latest package of grants have been shaped by years of leadership and research analyzing the True Cost of Food. In 2021, the Foundation’s True Cost of Food analysis showed that U.S. food system costs $3.2 trillion per year when taking into account its impact on the health of people, livelihoods, and the environment while disproportionately harming people of color. In addition, the Foundation followed up that report with a True Cost of Food: School Meals Case Study, which showed that if all U.S. school districts shifted procurement policies and practices, they would create at least $1.28 billion in annual benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, and increased wages in local jobs. Shifts that also increase the dietary quality of school meals could yield an additional $1.52 billion in net benefits from health impacts. 


About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work throughout the world to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

Media Contact

Ashley Chang
Head of Media Relations
+1 212 852 0000
achang@rockfound.org

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