March 15, 2013 09:00 ET

Foodservice Giants, in Partnership With, Take National Lead in Procuring Local and Sustainable Food for Schools, Convention Centers, and Airports

Millions of Kids, Families, and Business Travelers to Benefit as Foodservice Providers at Chicago Public Schools, McCormick Place, and Midway Airport Announce Major New Local and Sustainable Food Procurement Programs at Good Food Trade Show in Chicago; Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality Expands Successful Local Food and Antibiotic-Free Chicken School Lunch Program to Hundreds of Midwest Schools and Serves as Model for Districts in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Mar 15, 2013) - Foodservice operators from Chicago Public Schools (CPS), McCormick Place, Midway Airport, and Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality have all agreed to substantially increase the amount of local and sustainable food served in their venues. Together these companies serve over 1.5 million meals a day.

"This is a great day for the Good Food Movement," says Jim Slama, president of, the producer of the Good Food Trade Show, now in its ninth year. "Having buyers at this level commit to major purchases of responsibly-produced food speaks volumes about trends in the food industry. Now large-scale foodservice operators are joining consumers, supermarkets and restaurants in demanding local and sustainable food."

Chicago Public Schools have been a national leader in serving fresh and frozen local food to its students, with more than $4.2 million in produce from regional farmers served to students over the past three school years through its primary foodservice company, Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality. CPS was the first major U.S. school district to serve its students chicken grown without the use of antibiotics. "We are pleased to expand this program to all the schools in our system, which represents a 35 percent increase," says Leslie Fowler, Executive Director for Nutrition Support Services for CPS. CPS serves about 400,000 meals a day to Chicago students, making it the third-largest school food program in the U.S. CPS is also a leader in the Urban Food Alliance, which includes New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando Public Schools. Alliance members have all agreed to source local and sustainable food and to purchase environmentally-friendly products for their cafeterias. Together the Alliance serves 2.5 million meals a day.

Working in partnership with, Chartwells School Dining Services will expand this program beyond CPS to include divisions in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio. "This is a groundbreaking program for Chartwells and the foodservice industry in the United States," says Travis Young, Regional Vice President of Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality. "It will give schools and students the most nutritious local food available. It will also support regional farms and communities by purchasing as much local food as possible."

The foodservice provider at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America, announced its intention to source 15 percent of its food from local and sustainable sources. "We are committed to making McCormick Place the most sustainable convention center in America," says Kevin Jezewski of SAVOR...Chicago at McCormick Place. "We serve around 3 million people a year who attend conferences and trade shows at this center. In partnership with we are sourcing local or organic produce, processed food from Chicago artisans, grass-fed meats, and Amish chicken. All of SAVOR...Chicago seafood is 100% approved by the Marine Stewardship Council. This is a major commitment to serve our customers the best food possible and is done in conjunction with Green Seal certification, which examines all aspects of sustainability."

The Premier Restaurant Group, operator of foodservice at Chicago's Midway International Airport, which has 19 million travelers a year, also announced their intention to enhance food and beverage offerings by creating a local sourcing campaign in partnership with "In 2012, we introduced Healthy Eats & Treats, our own nutritious and sustainable dining program. That program includes menus that meet F.I.T. City and Healthy Fare for Kids guidelines, and now encompasses our commitment to purchasing up to 10 percent of our food from local and sustainable sources," said Larry Acton, Premier's vice president of development. As part of the commitment, Premier has chosen to partner with to source local and organic produce, plus meat and poultry raised without antibiotics. This includes grass-fed meats, pastured, cage-free and Amish chicken, and food from local artisans.

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