Good Food Purchasing Program

holding a pos machince and receiving of credit card in a market

What is the Good Food Purchasing Program?

The Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) uses the food buying power of institutions to purchase from vendors that care about the health and well-being of people, animals, and the environment. The Program provides clear standards and strategic support to encourage major institutions to purchase local, sustainable, fair, and humanely produced foods while also improving access to healthy, high-quality food for all of our communities. The program establishes baselines as well as improvement strategies along six values:

  • Environmental sustainability
  • Valued workforce
  • Local economies
  • Nutrition
  • Fair treatment of animals
  • Racial equity

Racial equity is not only a core value, but also a foundation of the program, incorporated into all the value areas.

Over 40 cities and institutions across the country have already adopted the GFPP including the Los Angeles Unified School District, Cook County Illinois (including Chicago), the City of Boston, and Austin Independent School District in Texas. 

How the Program Operates

The non-profit Center for Good Food Purchasing, which created the GFPP, assists institutions in program implementation. The Center works with them to evaluate how current purchasing practices match up with the Good Food Purchasing standards. The institutions then identify goals to move them forward in supporting the six value categories for food purchases. The Center also works with them to measure their progress on an annual basis and then celebrates institutional success as goals are achieved.

Why Denver?

The Good Food Purchasing Program was under consideration by the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council when the Denver Food Vision 2030 was being developed.  The goals of the GFPP are consistent with the goals of the Mayor-approved Denver Food Vision 2030, including: to increase the size of the Denver food economy by $500 million dollars; attract $100 million dollars to Denver’s food businesses; and increase local food purchases to 25% for Denver agencies with public meal programs. Setting a policy for a new comprehensive food purchasing standard, the City can improve the quality of food provided to communities in need, boost local economies and encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly food policies. Institutions and agencies participating in the Denver Good Food Purchasing Program include: the Denver Sheriff’s Department; the Denver Office of Children’s Affairs; Denver Public Schools; the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Centura Health.

Moving the Good Food Purchasing Program Forward

There are several ways that the Good Food Purchasing Program is moving forward in the City of Denver. They include the Denver Good Food Coalition, a policy initiative, and training and education.

The Denver Good Food Coalition

Coalition building for the GFPP has been underway for the last several years, facilitated by City staff, the Sustainable Food Policy Council and other community partners. A recent Denver Good Food Coalition meeting included participants from hospitals, universities, schools, farm organizations, labor, and the City of Denver, among others. The Coalition provides a space for different viewpoints to be represented while educating members about policy related to topics such as agricultural labor and animal welfare issues. There is great momentum to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program as one method to improve the quality of food being served to residents in low income communities.

Interested in news and meeting notifications for the Denver Good Food Coalition? Sign up now! Download the form below and return it to

Denver Good Food Coalition Sign Up Form(PDF, 144KB)

Training and Education

Food service purchasers for institutions are often unsure how to connect with farmers and ranchers. Conversely, farmers and ranchers are generally not familiar with the complex requirements and processes involved in selling to institutions.  Through City staff and industry experts, training has been provided to purchasers and producers on how to establish a business relationship. This is accomplished through workshops, farm tours, and “match making” events, and topics include product delivery, food safety certifications, the purchasing process, and agricultural production practices.

For more information about the Good Food Purchasing Program, contact Marion Kalb at or 720-865-5511.


The Center for Good Food Purchasing manages the GFPP, working with institutions from farm to fork to shift towards a values-based purchasing model. The Center works with national partners and local grassroots coalitions in cities across the United States to build a cohesive movement in support of Good Food purchasing.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has developed an introductory document on the Good Food Purchasing Program, making the argument that when public institutions like schools, hospitals, and prisons, treat workers fairly, serve nutritious food, and source from local farmers, the good food movement can make an impact far beyond the populations they serve.