2017 Good Food Institutional Hero

“We are inspired to elevate the enormous efforts of local producers across Northern California whose products – everything from whole grain pasta to fresh fish and local apples – are reaching the plates of students here in Oakland.”

Alex Emmott, Farm to School Supervisor, Oakland Unified School District


Oakland Unified School District


We are pleased to recognize Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) for its outstanding participation in the Good Food Purchasing Program. In their most recent annual assessment, they achieved a four star rating, with achievements in Environmental Sustainability, Valued Workforce and Animal Welfare key to the accomplishment.


While OUSD’s farm to school work extends back well before their engagement with the Good Food Purchasing Program, through their commitment to our five-value framework in 2014 and subsequent formal adoption in 2016, they have continued their trajectory toward the highest levels of excellence in their field. They engaged with the Program to evaluate their existing efforts and create a framework for continuous improvements over the next five years. Their “less meat, better meat” strategy significantly reduced their carbon and water footprints, each by over 20%, reducing the total pounds of meat purchased as well as shifting away from less carbon-efficient animal proteins, like beef. The cost savings meant they could purchase more humanely-raised grassfed beef, which ultimately propelled them to the baseline compliance in Environmental Sustainability and Animal Welfare. They have also diversified the distributors they are working with to source additional product from small farms, and have seen their purchases from small and mid-sized regional farms increase overall from less than 1% of their total spend in the baseline year (2012-2013) to nearly 3.5% of their total spend in the most recent assessment.

As a trailblazing school district in the world of sourcing farm to school, the exemplary leadership team of Jennifer LeBarre (Nutrition Services Director) and Alex Emmott (Farm to School Supervisor) have worked tirelessly to bring an innovative vision to life around what school food should and can be –socially, ecologically, and economically responsible AND delicious for their students, all without increasing their costs. OUSD is continuing toward achieving the five-star level, with notable milestones upcoming like the future opening of their central kitchen which will allow for on-site processing of whole, unprocessed food items and increased capacity to source from smaller scale local producers. The Center for Good Food Purchasing looks forward to continued partnership with the school district in its groundbreaking endeavors!