Boulder Valley School District

Providing fresh, healthy food for students AND leading the way to national change

Randy Barber

Boulder Valley School District was recently named the first entity of any kind in the country to receive the Good Food Provider seal from the Center for Good Food Purchasing (CGFP) with its highest, five-star rating. CGFP is a national nonprofit that measures values-based procurement practices at food institutions . This award was given by the Center for Good Food Purchasing, a national nonprofit that measures values-based procurement practices at food institutions. School districts across the country have adopted the program, recognizing their duty as community leaders to establish sustainable, healthy food procurement practices.

BVSD’s School Food Project underwent an intensive, eight-week assessment through the Center’s Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) to determine our strengths and weaknesses within the following five categories: local economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition. GFPP is designed to become the food system version of the LEED certification for energy efficiency. The assessment of BVSD’s procurement practices revealed a number of our programs’ strengths, such as achieving 22 of the 24 nutrition standards, sourcing high percentages across all five value categories, and achieving a dozen bonus points across the entire assessment.

A proponent of local food purchasing and healthy food practices for many years, the BVSD  School Food Project:

  • uses locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible
  • avoids highly processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, dyes and food additives
  • works closely with 10 local farmer partners and dozens of other local and regional food producers and vendors to procure high quality, sustainably raised ingredients
  • serves more than 13,000 scratch-cooked meals each day, featuring antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and nitrate- and nitrite-free hot dogs
  • offers endless salad bars daily at every school, stocked with fresh, delicious and when possible, local farm-fresh produce  

Following the assessment, BVSD has begun to develop short- and long-term purchasing goals, future benchmarks, and institutional standards to be included in new RFPs and contracts with food vendors. By taking the initiative to implement such a program, the BVSD School Food Project not only builds capacity within our own organization, but also calls upon other community organizations to achieve the same level of high-quality food procurement and demand accountability in food and environmental safety from producers and vendors. With several food access issues within our community, we have the unique opportunity to expand the local food system and support healthier food access for more than 31,000 students and their families. This program also supports BVSD’s ability to further stimulate the local food economy and push other area organizations to adopt similar, more rigorous food, environment and labor standards. Through this opportunity we can create a massive shift in food procurement within our Rocky Mountain region and have an enormous, positive impact on our local and regional food system.


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