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 food.
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
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 resources available:
be nutritious, fresh, and reflective of Berkeley's cultural
be from regionally grown or processed sources to the maximum
be organic (as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) National Organic Program regulations) to the maximum
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 system 
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,
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
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 marketing strategies.
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 food sources.
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
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.
Provide training to appropriate City staff on basic nutrition, nutrition
education, and the benefits of organic and regional sustainable
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 forms.
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.