Zimmer honored as ‘Good Food Hero’ by LA Food Policy Council
Craig Clough | June 17, 2015
LA Unified school board Vice President Steve Zimmer was honored recently by the Los Angeles Food Policy Council for his efforts in getting the district to take a more progressive approach to food purchasing.
The council developed the Good Food Purchasing Program, which LA Unified adopted in 2012 and strengthened in late 2014 with two “Good Food” resolutions that Zimmer helped get passed. The resolutions called for the district to prioritize local food vendors, labor conditions, environmental concerns and animal welfare when procuring food.
Zimmer was honored by the group as a “Good Food Hero” at its June 11 fundraising gala at the Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles and was also invited to speak at the event. (See the YouTube video above for his full remarks.)
“I want you all to know, if you don’t take anything else from what I say tonight, is that 82 percent of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District live in poverty,” Zimmer said. “Not on the margin, not working, they live in poverty every day. So when we talk about the food chain, for our students, we are every link in that chain.”
Zimmer also expressed his hope that every school district in the state would adopt similar purchasing guidelines that LAUSD has.
The council was formed in 2011 by former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and describes itself as a “collective impact initiative” with the goal of making the Los Angeles area a place “where food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable.” The council is made up of 40 members and hundreds of stakeholders who represent over 180 businesses and organizations. It is funded by the city of LA, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a number of charitable organizations.
As part of the food procurement resolutions spearheaded by Zimmer, LAUSD also joined forced with several other major school districts in the country to form the Urban School Food Alliance. The alliance made headlines around the country in 2014 when it pledged to only purchase antibiotic free chicken.