Victory! Boston Challenges Corporate Control Of Our Food System

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Above Photo: Todd Klassy/Flickr

Boston has taken a critical step forward to rebuild our broken food system and advance food justice across the city.

On March 20, the city became the first on the East Coast to adopt a city-wide Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFPP) — a groundbreaking policy that helps build an equitable, local, sustainable food system. The policy directs the city to purchase food that meets robust labor, health, and environmental standards. This includes Boston Public Schools (BPS), one of the largest purchasers of food in the city — meaning that 56,000 schoolchildren in Boston will have healthier, more nutritious food available to them at school each day.

It’s about more than simply good food, though. The majority of students served by BPS are students of color, who face disproportionately higher rates of diet-related disease, and are disproportionately targeted with marketing by fast food giants like McDonald’s. By investing in sustainable, local food, the policy shows how cities across the Northeast can advance a sustainable and equitable food system, and takes a crucial step forward for food justice and racial equity in the city. And as the first on the East Coast to pass GFPP city-wide, Boston has established a precedent for other cities to follow suit.

This victory came about thanks to eight months of organizing by a powerhouse, cross-sector coalition coordinated by Corporate Accountability. Together, we and our partners organized significant grassroots muscle, expertise across impacted sectors, and grassroots lobbying that ensured the ordinance’s passage. We organized a panel of experts and public testimony from organizations including the Food Chain Workers Alliance, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445, CommonWealth Kitchen, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Massachusetts Farm to School. And more than 40 Corporate Accountability members and supporters like you called on their city councilors to support GFPP.

And that’s not all: This move comes on the heels of another big victory in the movement challenging corporate abuse of our food. In early February, the second-largest teachers union in the country, the American Federation of Teachers, passed a resolution to reject all junk food fundraisers in schools, including McDonald’s McTeacher’s Nights.

Our food campaign partners with a broad array of organizations and people like you to challenge the corporate takeover of our food system at every level — from the local to the national and beyond. These are just the latest steps forward in the movement to challenge the corporate takeover of our food system. Thanks to our allies, champions like Cecily Myart-Cruz and Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, and our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters, we’re rebuilding a sustainable food system — one that ensures people have access to the healthful food they need to thrive.

Together, we’re paving the path forward for a just, equitable food system for all. You can help. Download the Stop McTeacher’s Nights toolkit and learn how you can stop McDonald’s marketing in schools in your community.