Like many people making their weekly trip to the grocery store, I do my best to buy “responsible” products that have positive environmental impact and that support the farmers and workers who produce them.

But decisions that should be straightforward become nearly impossible as soon I step into an aisle and begin selecting products. Do I buy organic berries or locally grown ones? Eggs labeled cage-free or pasture-raised, or with a humane certification? Fair trade coffee or direct trade? How much does it matter?

I don’t have the information or time I need to make choices that do the most good—for my health, for farmers, for the planet—all while working on a budget. I’m not alone.

Americans collectively spend $1 trillion on food each year. While the decisions we make as consumers do influence how we grow food and who benefits, putting our food dollars in the right place can be challenging. Rarely do we have the information we need to understand the true social and environmental impacts of our purchases. Certifications and marketing labels can be confusing, with many tradeoffs for different priorities, and these products are often more expensive than many of us can afford.

For too long, the burden of ensuring what we purchase is good for people and the planet has rested on the shoulders of individual consumers.

Now, imagine a world in which these decisions are made before food reaches the grocery aisle, restaurant, or cafeteria. Where the responsible and sustainable choices are already embedded in those institutions’ food purchasing contracts. In this world, the weight of our individual food purchasing decisions would be lifted into a shared commitment woven throughout the fabric of our food system.

That world isn’t impossible. We’re already making strides to turn it into a reality, as several policymakers in cities across the country take the lead in bringing Good Food through their public institutions and creating a better market for all of us. This shift is backed by innovative solutions and tangible progress.

Read the full article about sustainable food by Noah Cohen-Cline at The Rockefeller Foundation .