Boulder Valley School District was the first to receive a five star rating from the Good Food Purchasing Program. BVSD’s designation as the highest ranking Good Food Provider proves it’s possible for school districts with limited budgets to not only excel, but lead the way, in building a food system based on the Program’s values without increasing food costs. We applaud the District’s leadership and commitment to creating stability for small, regional farmers through its ongoing investment in local and sustainable food producers. For this leadership we award Boulder Valley School District with the 2018 Good Food Institutional Hero award.
Through local food purchasing, BVSD invested $890,700 into the Colorado economy—over 41 percent of its total food spend, which impacts over 2.19 million meals per school year. Almost 10 percent of these purchases came from small, local farms within 200 miles of the school district.
As Chef Ann Cooper notes, it’s these regional producers that help the district meet goals across the five Good Food Purchasing values: “It’s really hard to pick just one or two [local producers to recognize].” Chef Ann extended her gratitude and compliments to heritage meat producers, a small local tamale company, a broker who helps small growers aggregate products so they can sell to the district, and “nine farmers [who] are excellent partners in Good Food because not only do they provide us with the highest quality produce, but we collaborate with them to provide educational opportunities to our students, both in cafeterias and on the farms. Our farmers work hard every day to ensure that our community has access to the most nutritious foods while practicing environmentally sustainable agriculture and supporting the staff with fair, livable wages.”
Chef Ann also highlights the important role the district can have in providing some level of certainty to farmers, even as weather threatens to devastate harvests: “Right now I’m most inspired by our ability to support local farmers, even when mother nature is fighting against them, as happened with several hail storms this year. Even when some of the produce is damaged, and perhaps not sellable at market, we can purchase those items in large quantities to help our farmers stay in business. And when we pair that with being able to feed kids delicious, healthy food, it’s a win-win for us.”