The first in all the Southeast USA! North Central Florida celebrates a big win, thanks to the collaborative work of the many individuals and organizations, including the Farmworker Association of Florida, that worked together to make Florida the first state in our region. The City of Gainesville, Alachua County, and the Alachua County School Board, in North Central Florida, have all voted to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) to support a sustainable and just food system for farmers, consumers, farm animals and farmworkers!
The GFPP transforms the way public institutions purchase food by creating a transparent and equitable food system built on five core values: local economies, nutrition, a valued workforce, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. As a member of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the HEAL Food Alliance and the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP), the Association has been supporting the adoption of GFPP programs around the country.
Determined that the Southeast not be left out of the progressive actions taken in other states, FWAF’s General Coordinator Neza Xiuhtecutli spoke in support of the GFPP to several members of the Board of City Commissioners. There is a cause for great celebration in this important success, as it serves as a significant model for other cities, counties and school boards in Florida and beyond to incorporate sustainability and justice, and the accountability and tracking to make it meaningful, in their food purchasing programs.
It is time for the University of Florida to step up
FWAF is a member of the coalition for Food Justice at the University of Florida. The coalition includes more than 40 student, local, and national organizations and farms working on a diversity of social justice and environmental stewardship issues, including a strong campus coalition to abolish prison slavery in University of Florida’s (UF) food sourcing. The aim of the coalition is to compel UF to implement concrete terms for a more equitable food service in their next multi-year dining service contract.
FWAF instumental in just food system movement on campus
The coalition leads public pressure actions based on the 6 coalition demands related to better compensation and facilitating organizing efforts for dining service workers on campus, more authentically local sourcing that is supportive to small and mid-sized farms, more ethical food purchasing that is certified to protect farmworkers and supply chain workers, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and transparency and accountability (under which the coalition is pushing for UF to adopt a credible, 3rd party monitoring and evaluation program for these values, specifically advocating for UF to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program or Real Food Challenge). FWAF, along with AJP, was instrumental in drafting the coalition demands regarding farmworker and food chain worker rights and protections in UF’s food supply chain.
Negotiating the next 10-20 campus food service contract
After more than a year of direct public pressure activities and gains in the Gainesville and Alachua County region and local and national press covering the campaign—including a podcast episode in Real Food Media’s Foodtopias, UF has finally published their official Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) document. This outlines priorities for their next 10-20 year campus food service contract. The coalition has done an in-depth review of the document and recently held a teach-in to discuss the implications for our coalition demands. It is clear our coalition has had an impact and also clear there are critical pieces missing to realize a food service at UF that authentically supports farmworkers, people who are in prison laboring in UF’s food supply chain, local smaller scale farms, ranches and food entrepreneurs, and other food chain workers.
If you represent an organization which would like to sign on please sign on here!
Don’t forget to follow @FoodJusticeUF on Instagram to keep up to date on the coalition’s work and calls to action and check out the linktree #HoldUFAccountable for past actions, recordings of virtual teach-ins and more.
Photos courtesy of the Food Justice at UF Coalition