Washington, D.C.

Building a More Equitable Food System in the Nation's Capitol

Though Washington, D.C. is one of the most affluent cities in the nation, many residents still experience significant inequities in access to affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods. In recent years, local leaders have committed to tackling these disparities in a number of ways, including through a comprehensive sustainability plan and D.C. Public Schools’ adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program.


Race Demographics:
46% Black / 0.2% Indigenous / 5% Asian / 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander / 46% White (38% White Non-Hispanic) / 3% Two or More Races / 11% Hispanic

Poverty Rate:

D.C. Public Schools Free and Reduced Price Lunch:

Estimated Public Food Spend:

Local Leadership:
Good Food D.C. Coalition

Curious to see where Washington, D.C. 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.

People marching with signs that read Healthy Food Is a Basic Human Right

Participation in the Good Food Purchasing Program by all public Washington D.C. institutions could*:

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

D.C. invests in locally-owned food businesses with an emphasis on historically underserved and disinvested communities.

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

Local government and nonprofit leaders are expanding healthy food access to improve community health.

Create transparency in food purchasing

D.C. Public Schools leaders share metrics and learnings from Good Food Purchasing Program assessments to engage the community in action planning.

*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.

Table with seedlings in trays

"The Good Food Purchasing Program weaves together many of the District's goals related to climate resiliency, health equity, and our regional farm economy. For years, the D.C. public school system has made huge strides in increasing their sourcing from local growers. The Program gives us a more robust framework to think about the impacts of our food purchasing decisions on the food system and the people in it."

Table with seedlings in traysLea Howe - Director of School Food Initiatives, DC Greens

Explore Related Resources:

See how other cities are making a difference.