France leads the way with organic public sector procurement
France has announced that by 2022 at least half of all food bought by the public sector must be organic or locally produced. This includes food bought for use in schools, hospitals and prisons. The French Agricultural Minister Stéphane Travert announced the new rules as part of measures to boost the French farming sector, and to improve diets.
This initiative highlights the power of public procurement to support better farming practices and improve access to healthy foods. A spokesman for the Soil Association asks for "more ambitious action from Government," which "could further stimulate demand for British, local, and higher quality produce. Michael Gove already has the tools he needs at his fingertips. (He) must seize the opportunity presented by Brexit to implement a procurement policy at least as ambitious as his French counterpart.”
Garden Organic supports a move towards public procurement of organic foods. As we reported recently, research by our sister organisation PAN UK (Pesticides Action Network) revealed that "For an additional cost of roughly 1p per child per day, or £5.6 million per year, all of the core produce given out through the Department of Health’s School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme could be switched to organic." https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/news/organic-fruit-and-veg-urged-schools