Mayor Gavin Newsom announces sustainable, regional food policies

You likely associate food policy with the federal government, but on July 8th, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom demonstrated what local governments can do to promote local, sustainable, and healthy food initiatives. Speaking at the West Oakland Woods Urban Garden (one of several farms operated by City Slicker Farms), Newsom outlined new policies aimed at “…form[ing] a comprehensive and strategic approach to addressing pressing needs in all sectors of the food system.” Among the initiatives announced:

  • “a requirement that all departments conduct an audit of land under their jurisdiction to create an inventory of land suitable for gardening”
  • “the introduction of new health and sustainability requirements for food sold by vendors under city permits”
  • “a ‘healthy meetings policy’ requiring the purchase of healthy, locally produced foods for city meetings”
  • “within two months, the introduction of a new law requiring that food purchased by the city has been grown regionally and through sustainable methods.”

The Mayor has no plans to wait around, either: part of this Executive Directive requires implementation of the goals above within 180 days.

These initiatives are part of larger efforts initiated in 2008 by Newsom and the San Francisco city government “to advance a sustainable ‘food shed’ plan for the city and region” that brings urban and rural stakeholders together to create policy.

As the new film Food, Inc. demonstrates, creative thinking is critical to reforming our food system. Does Newsom’s directive represent that kind of innovation? We think so… let us know what you think below.


Image credit: Mayor’s Office Press Room