Berkeley, CA School District Organic and Local Food
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The Berkeley School District passed a food policy requiring school cafeterias to serve organic foods to its 9,500 students. The policy explicitly makes a commitment "to increase the amount of products purchased from local farms". To fund the initiative, a portion of the $650,000 the district currently spends on cafeteria food is allocated for local organic food. Organizers have also sought bulk discounts from growers and manufacturers. In addition, school sponsored gardens are expected to provide a significant percentage of the necessary food. The school district will also continue to use federal reimbursements from the USDA and sales to students to pay for the program. Sponsors of the initiative are also working with the USDA to change national policy that requires schools to accept the lowest bids from food processors for school reduced-price meals. Allowing higher bids to be considered would allow the school district to buy from local growers while keeping USDA reimbursements. Due to the higher prices of organics, the district is also developing a business plan and looking for additional funding from state and city sources and school bonds.