Standards Alignment Project

Anchors in Action (AiA) alliance is a national cross-sector partnership among the Center for Good Food Purchasing, Health Care Without Harm, and Real Food Challenge. Representing over 57 public institutions in 23 major cities, 1,800 hospitals, 7,800 elementary and secondary schools, and 100 colleges and universities across the country, our three organizations have come together to leverage the collective influence of these anchor institutions.


The Anchors in Action Project Team is requesting review of the draft of the Anchors in Action (AiA) Aligned Framework.

Through our process, transparency and community engagement have become two critical pillars to values-based food procurement that centers our core principles, and the eaters and impacted communities that anchor institutions serve.

To put these pillars to practice in our own process, the AiA Project Team will be engaging a variety of stakeholders in a public review process from March 14 - April 18, 2022. The three AiA organizations, Real Food Challenge, Health Care Without Harm, and The Center for Good Food Purchasing, plans to engage students, producers, workers in the food supply chain, institutional partners, local coalitions and groups organizing around values-based food procurement, organizational and campaign partners, food hubs and regional distributors, and participants from previous engagement periods, along with the networks of Project Team members.

If you identify with one or more of these groups or have a stake in the development of the AiA Aligned Framework, we welcome you to participate in Public Review!

Please contact the Project Management Team (contact info at bottom of page) for more details and for any questions on participating in Public Review.

Our aim for the AiA Standards Alignment Project is to develop a set of aligned food purchasing standards that move anchor institutions toward a common set of definitions and strategies which raise the bar and focus on increasing health for eaters at our anchor institutions across the country by ensuring that practices around labor, ecology, and animal welfare are fair and just, all while ensuring regeneration by building up our local economies to provide more local solutions. Through the Anchors in Action alliance, we will unite our standards and our movements to harness the power of institutional purchasing and bring the dramatic, transformational, system-level change we need.


In December 2021, Real Food Generation led a public visioning workshop to re-imagine our current food systems and how learn how the Anchors in Action Aligned Framework can be stepping stones to that vision. Check out the notes and artwork from the workshop below:


The AiA organizations collaborating on this project recognize the importance of making these three principles explicit in the standards alignment process and to center them within all aspects of the AiA Standards Alignment Project. These principles seek to keep our work grounded in a vision of transformation, and to provide checks and balances to encourage our organizations and partners to stay accountable to producers, workers and communities of color and to other frontline communities.


is an acknowledgement and mission to rectify the structural barriers that prevent BIPOC communities from the opportunities and resources to thrive.


is “the right of Peoples to define their own policies and strategies for sustainable production, distribution, and consumption of food, with respect for their own cultures and their own systems of managing natural resources and rural areas" (Declaration of Atitlan, 1st Indigenous Peoples’ Global Consultation on the Right to Food and Food Sovereignty, Guatemala, 2002).


is an acknowledgement that climate disruption often has a disproportionate impact on frontline communities. It is the mitigation of those impacts and a just transition to a reciprocal, regenerative relationship with our environment.


The AiA Aligned Standards are organized around five values that are built upon the foundation of the core principles. We uphold each of these values equally, with the understanding that food systems transformation must be viewed holistically.

Local Economies

which are defined as regional economies that promote local, diverse, small and mid-size businesses - with a central focus on businesses owned and run by families, cooperatives, Black and Indigenous people, and People of Color

Valued Workforce

looks at safe and dignified working conditions, fair compensation, the right to organize and to a grievance process, and equal opportunity for employment for all workers in the food supply chain

Community Health & Nutrition

focuses on health and well-being of people coming through the cafeterias, through equitable access to nutritious & culturally relevant foods

Animal Welfare

looks at healthy, humane conditions for farm animals that meet their mental, physical & behavioral needs

Environmental Sustainability

looks at environmental stewardship that preserves natural resources, promotes sustainable agricultural systems, and builds ecological resilience