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Public Food Procurement, Healthy Diets for Children, and Sustainable Food Systems

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Please join us for an exciting roundtable discussion on public food procurement, healthy diets for children, and sustainable food systems.

There are staggering statistics when it comes to public food procurement: in the US, schools serve over 4.8 billion lunches to school children nationwide; Ethiopia has two home-grown school feeding initiatives, reaching over 2 million children; and France aspires to have at least half of all food bought by the public sector will be organic or locally produced by end of 2022. Sustainable public procurement for school meals has the potential to impact food consumption and food production patterns as well as to enhance access to healthy diets for students of publicly procured food and promote the development of more sustainable food systems.

The international recognition of public food procurement as an instrument for development is still fairly new; it was just in 2012 when the UN held a conference in Sustainable Development, including public food procurement. While the recognition that public food procurement can play a strategic role in creating market opportunities for local and small-scale farmers and SMEs, boosting the demand for organic food, and promoting healthy nutrition in children is increasing, there are still questions about how to implement sustainable public food procurement. In this roundtable, we will hear from sustainable food experts about policy preparation, instruments for implementation, enablers and barriers, and best practices.


Florence Tartanac is a Senior Officer in the Food and Nutrition Division at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. She is Team Leader of the Market linkages and value chains team and her areas of expertise are : sustainable food value chain development and inclusive business models; voluntary standards and geographical indications; public food procurement; small and medium food enterprises development. Prior to joining the FAO in 2001, Ms. Tartanac she worked 10 years in Guatemala for the French Cooperation, the Institute of Nutrition for Central America and Panama and UNIDO. She also worked 5 years in the FAO regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. Ms. Tartana is a food engineer by training and holds a PhD in Economical Geography from Paris University.

Letícia Baird: Ms. Baird is a Brazilian Public Prosecutor in the state of Bahia. For over ten years in low socio-economic areas in the state of Bahia, in Brazil, she led the Sustainable School Program to promote the Brazilian public policy of school feeding, with a focus on promoting health eating and combating malnutrition and childhood obesity. The proposal, methodology and achievements of the Sustainable School Program have been presented at international conferences such as the COP26 (European Union side event) and United Nations 2021 Pre-Summit (affiliaed session). Also, at the 8th World Sustainability Forum, at the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting (Stanford University – USA) and at the LEAP Conference 2019 – Livestock, Environment and People (Oxford University – UK). Ms. Baird is a lawyer by training and holds a postgraduate specialization in Procedure Law.