Make Washington State a Model for Nutritious and Local Food Procurement

Cafeteria

Target: Washington State Legislature

Goal: Establish state-run food procurement policies that are a model for purchasing nutritious, Washington-grown food

The State of Washington has great potential through food procurement and purchasing to make an impact  in its institutions directly, and more broadly as a model for the rest of the state. Recently proposed state legislation would require state agencies to work with the Department of Health to make mindful decisions about food purchasing, namely involving nutritious, Washington-grown food.

By doing so, the state would combat disease and poor nutrition directly in institutions, residential centers and state buildings, along with supporting Washington agriculture. Additionally, the government would become a model and teacher of good nutritional and food choices for institutions and individuals throughout Washington.

Directly, the state is responsible for purchasing food for over 20 million meals a year. State departments purchase food for state institutions and residential centres, and the state must choose food to purchase for meetings and other state facility uses. The food choices of the state clearly have a huge direct impact, but the long term and indirect impacts are also considerable.

Without nutritional or food-source standards, state food choices could send the wrong message to state residents by contributing to diet-related disease, and supporting imported foods over those grown in Washington. Often, less nutritious food that is more likely to contribute to disease is cheaper, but healthcare costs later on make up the cost.

To ensure long term nutrition, lower healthcare costs, and a thriving agriculture, Washington state agencies need to set food purchasing standards and take the lead in choosing nutritious, Washington-grown food. The proposed bill ensuring the creation of these food purchasing standards has not yet been successful, but it is time for mindful food procurement in the state to become a priority. Please ask the Washington State Legislature to consider the state’s huge potential impact on food choices and nutrition, and to make food purchasing standards a priority.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Washington State Legislators,

By setting standards for food purchasing by state agencies, Washington State could positively impact nutrition, food choices and Washington agriculture. State agencies supply food to many directly, and influence food choice decisions throughout the state. Nutrition and health, along with the cost healthcare, need improvement, and agriculture needs more local support. Though House Bill 1801 has faced obstacles, it is important that the legislature now prioritize its success.

This bill would require state agencies to work with the Health Department in order to make mindful food purchasing choices. These choices would involve nutritious, fresh food that is grown in Washington. First, these food choices would directly benefit those in state facilities, state-run institutions and residential centers. Beyond, other institutional and individual purchasers in Washington would model their choices off those of the state, improving nutrition, health and Washington agricultural vitality across the board.

Please support the creation of food purchasing standards for Washington State Agencies in order to promote the procurement of more nutritious and Washington-grown food throughout the state.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: USDAgov via Flickr

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