Gainesville, Alachua County

School District and Grassroots Leadership Advance Good Food Purchasing in Florida

Advocates and organizers in Florida’s Alachua County and Greater Gainesville area have spent decades working to improve conditions for regional farmworkers and to strengthen the local food system. In a major step toward these goals — and to advance the district’s farm to school efforts — Alachua County Public Schools adopted the Good Food Purchasing Program. The school board’s leadership continues to inspire institutions, including the City of Gainesville and Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, to join them in aligning food purchasing dollars with the region’s social and environmental goals. 

Population:
269,043
Race Demographics:
21% Black / 0.4% Indigenous / 6% Asian / 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander / 70% White (61% Non-Hispanic) / 3% Two or More Races / 11% Hispanic
Poverty Rate:
18%
Alachua County Public Schools Free and Reduced Price Lunch:
72%
Estimated Public Food Spend:
$37,000,000
Local Leadership:

Alachua County Public Schools, Food Justice League

Curious to see where Gainesville and Alachua County institutions can invest their public food dollars locally? Use the map’s radius distance slider (left) to see how purchasing within a 50 mile, 250 mile, or 500 mile radius looks.

Participation in the Good Food Purchasing Program by all public Alachua County institutions could*:

Create 33 local jobs equivalent to $1.64 million in annual local wages

Alachua County’s Comprehensive Plan identifies the need for greater emphasis on local foods as a key growth strategy.

Reduce chronic disease risk by 1.48% equivalent to $118,000 in annual healthcare savings

County Health Department highlights the Good Food Purchasing Program as an important tactic for improving community health.

Inspire investment in a valued workforce

Florida organizations have emerged as national leaders through advocacy for farm and food chain workers.

*Impacts are calculated based on estimated annual regional food spend. These are the estimated impacts of increasing 30% of current spending on local products and increasing 30% of current purchases of fruits and vegetables, without changing total food spend. For additional detail, download the methodology.


"The Good Food Purchasing Program has impacted our school district by giving us clear objectives for the values-based purchasing that resonates with our customers (students and families) and has helped us create a common language that has been invaluable to our community collaborations. Good Food Purchasing is an idea whose time has come, and many different entities in our community- from city policy makers, to university food buyers, to farmers, to schools - now have a clearer vision of what a more just food system might look like for our community, and how to start making that shift."

Kelli Brew - Farm to School Coordinator, Alachua County Food & Nutrition Services


See how other cities are making a difference.