This profile was developed in 2007 as part of the Sustainable Food Policy Project.

San Francisco Department of Public Health

San Francisco Dept of Public Health Policy
San Francisco Dept of Public Health Resolution

PO: Novation

Food Service
Distributor: US Foodservice. Other commodity contracts for bread and dairy. Institutional food service is in-house.

Specific language that requires increase in purchasing and provision of sustainable food. Policy requires hospitals to develop a 2-5 year Sustainable Food Procurement and Processing plan. Policy does not include benchmarks or percentage of sustainable purchasing requirements.

Background and Vision
San Francisco’s Department of Public Health adopted a sustainable food policy on July 18, 2006. The stated purpose in the policy is “To ensure DPH events, programs and services reflect the DPH mission of promoting the health of all San Franciscans by providing healthy food options acquired from healthy, environmentally sound, and sustainable sources”. Policy also provides “Guiding Principles” which explain how the policy is consistent with the department and the city’s values and goals.

This policy builds upon previous policies and resolutions adopted with the City and County of San Francisco, including: the Sustainability Plan for the City of San Francisco (Resolution No. 692-97, passed July 1997), a resolution on genetically-engineered food (Resolution No. 1070-00, passed December 2000), the Precautionary Principle (Resolution No. 129-03, passed March 2003); the Organic Certified Goods Resolution (No. 532-05, file # 051267, passed 7/12/05); the Sweatfree Contracting Ordinance (file # 051257, passed 9/13/05); the Fair Trade Certified Goods Resolution (No. 533-05, file # 051268, passed 7/12/05); and the Urban Environmental Accords (signed by Mayor in June 2005); all of which provide product procurement goals and guidelines that will contribute to healthy, sustainable food systems

Policy defines organic as consistent with USDA’s standards. Policy also defines sustainable food, humanely raised animal products, Non GMO, Local (as about a 150 mile radius), fair trade, and fresh and processed foods. Sourcing Language does not designate a source for procurement besides its preference for locally produced food.

Language does not designate a source for procurement besides its preference for locally produced food.

Tracking of sustainable food procurement is not addressed in the document.

Lessons Learned
This policy affects three main groups: Department staff who purchase food for meetings, and other events, purchasers at the two hospitals run by the Department, and private contractors providing food as part of their contract from the City. As of December, 2006 we are focused on the city staff and purchasers, with plans to look at contractors in 2008. We are working with a sustainable foods information technology company to develop a portion of their website for use by City staff to learn about and buy sustainable food for City events. We have also moved forward with further identifying obstacles and opportunities for increasing sustainable food procurement by City institutions. Passing the policy in San Francisco was aided by the interest in the connections between food and health by the Health Commission and Mayor, and a decade of other policies that support sustainable food procurement in the City. However, little progress has been made in actually implementing many of these policies. We are finding that although this policy affects the Department of Public Health, that we are having greater effectiveness working together with different City agencies (Department of the Environment, San Francisco Food Systems, Mayor’s Office) to implement it. However there is no dedicated staff working on implementation, something which we hope to change through grant funding for a position to coordinate the efforts.