San Francisco has adopted what may be the country's first county food policy that aims to improve access to healthy food while supporting local agriculture and reducing shipping-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Mayor Gavin Newsom issued an executive directive Wednesday ordering all departments to survey the land under their control in order to create an inventory of land that can support community gardens. All city-purchased food for city meetings, schools, jails or homeless shelters must be grown locally with sustainable farming practices. Food vendors with city permits must also meet these requirements.
"The stark reality is that hunger, food insecurity, and poor nutrition are pressing health issues, even in a city as rich and vibrant as San Francisco," said Mayor Newsom in a prepared statement Wednesday. "From the alleviation of hunger, to the need to support local and sustainable agricultural practices, these recommendations form a comprehensive and strategic approach to addressing pressing needs in all sectors of the food system."
The policy must be put in place within six months, and only applies to city departments, not citizens or businesses, according to Joe Arellano, a spokesman from the mayor's office.