In an effort to support regional family farms and increase local purchasing power, CoBank, a Colorado-based cooperative bank and a member of the Farm Credit System, has awarded $1 million dollars to DC Central Kitchen.
Over the last two decades DC Central Kitchen has prepared more than 25 million meals for low-income and at-risk community members in DC. CoBank says, “DC Central Kitchen will utilize the $1 million grant to increase its capacity to transport, prepare, store and distribute locally grown foods throughout Washington D.C., to schools, homeless shelters, rehabilitation clinics and neighborhood corner stores.”
DC Central Kitchen sources much of its fresh, local produce from a farmer-owned auction facility in Dayton, Virginia, including tomatoes, peppers, corn, onions, squash and potatoes. In 2011, CoBank provided DC Central Kitchen with a grant to purchase a refrigerated truck and delivery van to transport produce to its food production hubs and distribution sites across Washington, DC. DC Central Kitchen staff incorporates locally-grown Virginia farm products into some 10,000 meals served each day at schools and partner agencies throughout the Washington metro area.
A key part of DC Central Kitchen’s work is to provide culinary job training for unemployed, homeless and other underprivileged adults in order to provide them with a path to a career in the food service industry.
While announcing this grant, Robert B. Engel, president and chief executive officer of CoBank, said, “DC Central Kitchen’s unique and creative business model is able to connect food supplied by local farmers in rural areas with demand in the inner city. As a mission-based lender, we’re delighted to be making an investment that will bring the benefit of local foods to even more of the thousands of people that DC Central Kitchen serves each year.”
Michael Curtin Jr., DC Central Kitchen Chief Executive Officer said, “We are focused on increasing the nutritional value of our meals in addition to overall volume. Local produce helps us to significantly enhance the quality of our product, and we’re grateful for the help that CoBank is providing us to achieve that goal.”
Click here for more information on CoBank.