The literature on public procurement, sustainable development and school food is growing as many look to improve the economic
viability of small and medium sized farms by expanding their market opportunities to include public food service operations. Because of their place in public bureaucracies, many advocates look to school food procurement as a domain they may rightly claim. However, many lack an understanding of the complexity of the school meal system, as well as the role of local school meal programs in communities as anti hunger programs, child wellness initiatives, and employment for communities. There is also a lack of understanding of the structural opportunities and barriers within local school meal programs that either inhibit or advance local procurement of regionally produced agricultural.
The in-depth case study of San Francisco school meals exposes the impact of federal and state policy and funding changes to a local educational system, and also reveals the role of organizational history and structure as an important actor in the project to rebuild public school food systems to serve growing children, and advance markets for regional small and midsized farmers.