City Council Wants Local Food for School Lunches
(Crain’s) — It’s no secret that the food served in city school cafeterias would get a failing grade if students were allowed to vote on its tastiness. But less known is where the food actually comes from—and that’s a point of contention for a growing number of City Council members who want the city to purchase more food from local farmers and suppliers. A Council oversight held hearing Tuesday on the Department of Education’s school food policies was meant to shine a spotlight on the issue and encourage the public to demand more information on the origins of the food students eat at school. “We have not had a hearing on the issue of school food in at least a decade,” said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who organized the hearing. The stakes are high. The school food program provides 1,200 New York City public schools with meals for about 800,000 students each year. The distribution contracts are worth $124 million, and are up for renewal in August 2013, according to the Department of Education. “The hearing reflects the groundswell of momentum to get a local procurement law into effect,” said Karen Karp, founder of Karp Resources, a food consulting firm.