On March 2, 2022, CHI member and Policy Director for the Redstone Center, Rachel Clark testified to the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Education Performance Oversight Hearing on District of Columbia Public Schools. In her testimony, Clark voices support for the pursuance of sustainable food procurement for DC public schools. More specifically, she states Redstone’s support for the DC Good Food Purchasing Coalition, a group that is designed to promote sustainable food procurement through measured improvements within five value categories: Valued Workforce, Local Economies, Health, Animal Welfare, and Sustainability. In 2019, The Council passed the Healthy Students Amendment Act, which prompted DCPS to conduct a baseline assessment and begin working towards the GFPP values. In 2019, DCPS Food and Nutrition Services conducted the required assessment, but progress was stalled with the onset of the pandemic.
Clark cites the climate impacts of food procurement as well as the health of students in her testimony: “Not only will sustainable food procurement help the District lower its GHG emissions, it will also benefit the health of students. Because the majority of food-related GHG emissions come from animal agriculture, lower emissions diets contain more plant-based foods. Diets high in plant-based foods prevent and mitigate chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. These benefits are particularly important for low-income children, who are more likely to participate in school meals programs.”