July 9, 2009

S.F. mayor orders healthy food in city

All San Francisco city departments must audit unused land in the city to see if it can be turned into community gardens or farms, the mayor said.

In addition, food vendors contracting with the city must offer healthful and sustainable food, all vending machines on city property must offer healthful food options and farmers' markets must begin accepting food stamps, Mayor Gavin Newsom said, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

There also will be no more doughnut shop runs before meetings and conferences held by city workers, Newsom said. Instead, workers will have to use guidelines created by the city Health Department when ordering food for meetings, he said.

Newsom said he would send an ordinance to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors within two months mandating all food served in local jails, hospitals, homeless shelters and community centers be conducive to good health, the Chronicle reported.

The directives followed an urban-rural roundtable of food experts from across the state convened by Newsom last year.

The group's job was to find ways of increasing the amount of food grown on farms within 200 miles of San Francisco eaten by city residents, especially those who depend on government meals.

The newspaper said the idea is to cut back on imported food, reconnect people to homegrown food rather than processed food and increase food options in city neighborhoods that lack easy access to grocery stores.

It's also unclear how much land could be converted into community farms or how much the program will cost, the newspaper said

Budget committee member Ross Mirkarimi told the Chronicle he liked the idea if we're able to get this at a very low cost.