Chicago, Cook County

City and County Partner Toward a Good Food Future

In 2017, the City of Chicago became the first outside of California to formally adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program. Cook County—where Chicago sits—followed closely in 2018, notably becoming the first adopter to include racial equity strategies in their policy. With leadership from the City and County Departments of Public Health, along with the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, the region’s collaborative effort is ensuring that links are made between increasing demand for good food and the development of more racially and socially-equitable supply chains.  

Population:
5,150,233
Race Demographics:
24% Black / 0.7% Indigenous / 8% Asian / 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander / 65% White (42% Non-Hispanic) / 2% Two or More Races / 26% Hispanic
Poverty Rate:
13%
Chicago Public School Free and Reduced Price Lunch:
79%
Estimated Public Food Spend:
$138,600,000
Local Leadership: 
Chicago Department of Public Health, Cook County Department of Public Health, Chicago Food Policy Action Council, Good Food Task Force, Midwest Consortium on Equity, Research, and Food Justice

Curious to see where Chicago and Cook 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 institutions in Chicago and Cook County could*:

Reduce chronic disease risk by 1.44% equivalent to $750,000 in annual healthcare savings

Cook County has prioritized healthy food access as a key strategy for preventing chronic disease and improving community health.

Create 124 local jobs equivalent to $6.15 million in annual local wages

The Good Food Purchasing Initiative of Metro Chicago is working to develop an equitable and resilient supply chain to meet increasing demand for locally-produced food.

Promote transparency in food purchasing

Chicago is working to build trust and awareness by including transparency agreements in food purchasing contracts.

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


"Shifting how our community-based institutions purchase food is part of a broader strategy to shift institutional policies, practices, resources, and opportunities towards an anti-racist and sustainable society that upholds food justice and sovereignty. Building demand for food that honors land, labor, animals, and community has the potential to create ripple effects not just in our food supply chains, but our broader economic, social, and environmental ecosystem." 

Marlie Wilson - Good Food Purchasing Project Manager, Chicago Food Policy Action Council


See how other cities are making a difference.