2017 Good Food Local Hero

“I am continually impressed by commitment of the staff and administration within the City Agencies and Departments to see the Good Food Purchasing Program from brainstorming to implementation on top of their other responsibilities. The Program is a simple concept but complex to implement as every department, agency, contract and vendor is unique. I am grateful to have such engaged and thoughtful partners who believe in the benefits of the Good Food Purchasing Program.”

Rodger Cooley, Director, Chicago Food Policy Action Council

Chicago Coalition: Good Food Purchasing Program

In 2017, a powerhouse team in Chicago secured the adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program in three key Chicago institutions! With the Chicago Public Schools adoption of the policy on June 28, 2017, the Chicago Park District on September 13, 2017 and the City of Chicago on October 11, 2017, Chicago is leading the way among the major cities working on Good Food purchasing.


The Chicago coalition, led by Rodger Cooley (Executive Director, Chicago Food Policy Action Council), Jose Oliva (Co-Director, Food Chain Workers Alliance; Board Member, Chicago Food Policy Action Council), and Erika Allen (Director, Growing Power Chicago; Commissioner, Chicago Parks District; Board President, Chicago Food Policy Action Council), worked with a robust network of active supporters and contributors  to build a strong foundation for implementation success. After nurturing a coalition of 30 supporting organizations, the group earned support for the policy from both 2015 mayoral candidates. Through early 2016, they initiated collaborative relationships in the mayoral administration inspiring the Mayor’s Office to create and convene the Chicago Good Food Task Force bringing together the relevant food purchasing city departments and agencies.


The Task Force was able to understand the food purchasing landscape within the city, build acceptance from city departments and agencies, and share guidance and technical support. As a result of this successful model, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District were excited to become the first two Chicago agencies to pilot program participation. The coalition provided critical support to both as they embarked on data collection and analysis. With their sights now set on Cook County for future adoption, this effective team is unstoppable!