Today on National Food Day, Austin ISD Nutrition Services was recognized by the Center for Good Food Purchasing as a Good Food Institution Hero.
AISD was named a Hero for its innovative steps taken to achieve the four-out-of-five-star ranking in the Good Food Purchasing Program. The district is one of the first institutions outside of Los Angeles to enroll in the Good Food Purchasing Program. AISD joins the University of Texas at Austin and Austin Convention Center in participating in the program.
The Center for Good Food Purchasing has said AISD's innovation and leadership is setting the tone for the rest of the country to follow, and we are proud to honor them as a Good Food Hero.
"At Austin ISD we are inspired by the progress we have made with our vendor relations," said Anneliese Tanner, AISD executive director of food service. "By making our vendors aware of the direction our purchasing efforts are headed, they are making changes to their products and practices, therefore creating more good food options not only in Austin, but for schools across the country."
The Good Food Purchasing Program closely aligns with the district's mission to ensure the procurement of food is healthy, clean, fair, and sustainable, and that students have equitable access to healthy, high quality food.
For more than three years, the district has been following the program guidelines which follow a national, metrics-based, framework to help cities and public institutions shift their food purchases to support five core values: strong local economies, protecting the environment, worker rights, animal welfare, and nutrition.
The Center recognized the district's commitment to the program by its ability to secure funding for a dedicated staff person to help them obtain a four-star rating and earn their Good Food Provider status.
Additionally, with the support from Kitchen Sync Strategies, an Austin-based consulting team, AISD has made swift progress in implementing strategies to accelerate its good food purchases by releasing bids for bulk organic milk and grass-fed beef that will help bolster performance in environmental sustainability and animal welfare. The district has also worked closely with vendors to build knowledge and buy-in so that vendors can supply schools with the products needed. The district's partnership with Kitchen Sync Strategies was implemented through grant funding from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.