City of Berkeley
Food and Nutrition Policy
The purpose of the City of Berkeley Food and Nutrition Policy is to help
build a more complete local food system based on sustainable regional
agriculture that fosters the local economy and assures that all people
of Berkeley have access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate
The City Council recognizes the opportunity to contribute to the conditions
in which optimal personal, environmental, social, and economic health
can be achieved through a comprehensive food policy. The City Council
also recognizes that the sharing of food is a fundamental human experience;
a way of nurturing and celebrating diverse cultures, thereby building
community and strengthening inter-generational bonds.
Council will direct City staff, in collaboration with the Berkeley Food
Policy Council and other community groups, to take the necessary steps
within the resources available to work toward the achievement of the Food
and Nutrition Policy goals in:
"City of Berkeley programs involving the regular preparation and serving
of food and snacks in youth centers, senior centers, summer camp programs,
City jail, and other similar programs.
"Food purchased by all City of Berkeley programs and staff for meetings,
special events, etc."
"Other City-funded programs and sites interested in voluntary participation
in policy implementation.
City staff from the Chronic Disease Prevention Program in the Public
Health Division of the Department of Health and Human Services will coordinate
the implementation of the Food and Nutrition Policy through the following
activities: 1) promoting awareness of the policy and information on implementation
strategies; 2) providing technical assistance to City programs working
on implementation through collaboration with community groups and agencies
such as the Food Policy Council; 3) monitoring implementation and reporting
on progress; 4) coordinating outreach and education promoting voluntary
participation in policy implementation to City residents, non-profit agencies,
government agencies, businesses and other groups.
In addition, Council supports the City's role as a model promoter of
healthy food and a sustainable and diverse food system and encourages
other public agencies, private sector businesses, and non-profit agencies
to adopt relevant portions of the policy.
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1. Ensure that the food served in City programs shall, within the fiscal
be nutritious, fresh, and reflective of Berkeley's cultural diversity
be from regionally grown or processed sources to the maximum extent
be organic (as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) National Organic Program regulations) to the maximum extent
not come from sources that utilize excessive antibiotics, bovine
growth hormones, irradiation, or transgenic modification of organisms
until such time as the practice is proven to enhance the local food
2. Utilize a preventive approach to nutrition-related health problems.
3. Improve the availability of food to Berkeley residents in need.
4. Promote urban agriculture throughout the City.
5. Support regional small scale, sustainable agriculture that is environmentally
sound, economically viable, socially responsible, and non-exploitative.
6. Strengthen economic and social linkages between urban consumers and
regional small-scale farms.
7. Maximize the preservation of regional farmland and crop diversity.
8. Provide community information so residents may make informed choices
about food and nutrition and encourage public participation in the development
of policies and programs
9. Coordinate with other cities, counties, state and federal government
and other sectors on nutrition and food system issues.
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A. Local and Regional Food Systems
1. Purchase fresh food from nearby and regional farms, gardens and food
processors as a first priority, when affordable, readily available, and
when quality standards are maintained.
2. Purchase prepared or processed foods from nearby, small businesses
that procure ingredients from regional organic farmers and food processors
to the maximum extent possible.
3. Support cooperatives, bartering, buying clubs, local currencies and
other non-traditional payment mechanisms for purchasing regionally and
sustainably grown food.
4. Join with neighboring food shed municipalities, county governments
and organizations in the purchase of agricultural conservation easements
 in neighboring rural communities where feasible.
5. Promote ecologically sound food cultivation in public and private
spaces throughout Berkeley.
B. Equitable Access to Nutritious Food
1. Increase access to affordable fruits, vegetables and healthy foods
for all Berkeley residents through support of farmer’s markets,
community supported agriculture, produce stands and other farm to neighborhood
2. Promote neighborhood-based food production, processing, warehousing,
distribution, and marketing.
3. Improve public transportation that increases access to food shopping,
especially in highly transit dependent communities.
4. Assist low-income residents in accessing available emergency and subsidized
5. Where feasible, make City-owned kitchen facilities available to community-based
groups to provide nutrition education and increased access to healthy
foods for residents.
C. Public Policy
1. Advocate for food labeling laws, and request that federal and state
representatives support legislation that will clearly label food products
that have been irradiated, transgenically modified or have been exposed
to bovine growth hormones.
2. Promote the use of the Precautionary Principle in agriculture and
food issues to ensure the environment is not degraded and Berkeley residents
are not exposed to environmental or health hazards in the production and
availability of local foods.
3. Work with media to offset unhealthy eating messages and to promote
activities that alter public opinion in ways that will support policy
initiatives that promote the public's health.
4. Support state and local initiatives, including research, which provide
clear, concise, accurate, culturally appropriate messages about food and
healthful eating patterns.
5. Advocate for federal and state programs that increase access to nutritious
food for low-income residents.
6. Foster regional food production through support for initiatives that
assist nearby farms, gardens, distributors and neighborhood stores.
7. Advocate for local, state and federal actions that support implementation
of the City of Berkeley Food and Nutrition Policy.
D. Public Outreach and Education
1. Conduct outreach to a wide range of stakeholders in the food system
through support of regular public events such as festivals of regional
food, resource guide on the regional food system, publicizing community
supported agriculture (CSA) options, and farmers' markets.
2. Provide training to appropriate City staff on basic nutrition, nutrition
education, and the benefits of organic and regional sustainable agriculture.
3. Provide accurate, ongoing, and culturally appropriate nutrition education
messages to residents that are tailored to their individual needs and
that consider the whole health of individuals, including emotional, mental
and environmental health as well as social-well-being.
4. Increase resident skills in consumer literacy, reading labels, analyzing
conflicting healthy eating and weight loss messages, meal planning, cooking,
and shopping for nutritious foods.
5. Conduct citywide culturally specific social marketing activities promoting
nutritious food choices.
6. Increase food system literacy among residents on issues such as the
environmental and social impact of synthetic biocides (fungicides, pesticides,
and herbicides), large-scale industrial farming, and patenting of life
7. Provide training to residents and community groups in backyard, container,
and rooftop gardening techniques.
8. Provide information to residents on the impact of open-air propagation
of transgenically modified plants and the use of synthetic biocides.
9. Outreach to neighborhood stores to promote the availability of a variety
of fresh, affordable regional and organic produce.
E. Berkeley Food Policy Council
The Berkeley Food Policy Council, a community group in existence since
May, 1999, consisting of a wide range of Berkeley residents and agency
providers and open to all interested persons, shall serve in an advisory
capacity to the Department of Health and Human Services and City Council
on food issues and provide a forum to discuss food-related topics of concern
to the community.
The Berkeley Food Policy Council shall meet at least six times a year
at hours convenient for public participation. The Berkeley Food Policy
Council will provide technical assistance to City programs, staff and
community groups in the implementation of this Food and Nutrition Policy
and subsequent recommendations.
 While existing research indicates that food grown and processed utilizing
these practices may have risks that are at acceptable levels for human
consumption and there are some positive consequences of their use, it
is the negative social and ecological consequences of the advancement
of such technologies that prompt their exclusion in this policy.
 Purchase of agricultural conservation easement programs compensate
property owners for permanently limiting non-agricultural land uses. Selling
an easement allows farmers to cash in a percentage of the equity in their
land, thus creating a financially competitive alternative to development.
After selling an easement, the landowner retains all other rights of ownership,
including the right to farm the land, prevent trespass, sell, bequeath
or otherwise transfer the land.
 In contrast to the Risk Management Principle that weighs hypothetical
outcomes and determines hypothetical manageability of risk, the Precautionary
Principle states that a practice must be proven to be safe in order to
be allowed. Where risk is indeterminable and recall is questionable, as
in the case of transgenically modified organisms and genetically engineered
seeds and substances, the Precautionary Principle is becoming the standard
of choice in policy development.