We are honored to recognize the Greater Cincinnati Good Food Coalition as our Good Food Local Hero for their incredible efforts over a period of several years to build a broad-based, community-driven network of supporters. The coalition successfully advocated for the adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program by Cincinnati Public Schools in January 2019.
The Cincinnati Coalition, led by Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, is made up of over 30 organizations with a vision of local ownership and buy-in for using the Good Food Purchasing Program to address challenges in the Southern Ohio food system. See the full list of food and farm, labor, animal welfare, and economic development advocates that comprise the coalition here.
The coalition’s recent achievements are built on years of hard work: the coalition convened numerous strategy sessions to identify allies and hone their campaign strategy, culminating in a white paper that was released in December 2018. This core document placed the Good Food Purchasing Standards within both a national and Ohio-specific context as justification for how the Good Food Purchasing Program could help improve outcomes for food chain workers, local businesses, consumers, animals raised for food, and the environment. A key goal identified by the coalition was to ensure adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program via school board policy at Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), which serves 36,000 K-12 students annually and spends around $7 M on food each year.
Throughout this process, CPS, under the leadership of Jessica Shelly, got excited about the Program and decided to enroll, identifying initial areas of achievement and growth opportunity. CPS has started to implement key steps to improve in those areas, including entering into a new produce contract that will allow them to increase their local produce purchases, and significantly increasing their animal products raised without the routine use of antibiotics. The coalition and CPS are working together to identify ways that the coalition’s expertise can support CPS in achieving at least the baseline in all five values and contribute to the vision of transforming the Southern Ohio food system.
The deep community buy-in for this vision was clear when it came time for policy adoption. At the hearing, 33 organizations and over 100 students, parents, and food chain workers were in attendance. As the coalition described in a press release “Community members gave compelling testimony, speaking to the many facets of the Good Food Purchasing Program, why they support it, and how it would affect them and their communities. It was a powerful example of democracy in action, as the community played its part in shaping how our public resources are used.”
View moving public comment from students, front line food chain workers, farmers, and more on the impacts of a food system fraught with injustice, and the vision for what it could be here (starting at 47:00).
The school board heard this message loud and clear, ultimately voting unanimously to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program. We know this is only the beginning of a transformative effort as the coalition works alongside CPS to realize the full potential of the Program for Cincinnati and Ohio. As Brennan Grayson, director of the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center said following the adoption: “The Good Food Purchasing Program has energized food justice activists in Cincinnati. It brings a bold vision to food justice activism, one that brings people from all parts of the food chain together. And togetherness is what people need to make changes in the food system.”
Congratulations to the Greater Cincinnati Good Food Coalition. We are excited to realize this vision together with you, and to recognize you as a Good Food Hero!