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DC Central Kitchen celebrates ‘real food’ with kids

“A farmer picked this collard green just for me?!” exclaimed one of Houston Elementary School’s fourth grade girls, as she twirled around the school cafeteria with two collard green leaves bigger than her head.

On Monday, October 24, DC Central Kitchen celebrated farm fresh food on National Food Day with Houston Elementary School students. The festivities began outside as kids gathered around our Truck Farm, a mobile garden grown in the bed of a pickup truck, before DCCK led interactive lessons on farming and composting. Kids got a chance to get their hands dirty as they touched, some of them for the first time, sprouting vegetables and herbs.

Inside the school’s cafeteria, kids taste tested two new recipes! Both hearty pies – one Greek style and one homestyle – highlighting the collard greens they saw and learned about in the mobile garden. Developed by our team of dietitians and chefs, these lessons integrated both sound nutrition science with creative strategies for exposing District youth to new ways of preparing and enjoying healthy, local foods.

DC Central Kitchen has expanded our efforts to provide quality and nutritious school meals to low-income school children at three new schools this year, bringing our farm-fresh ingredients to a total of 15 DC cafeterias.

To provide the most wholesome meals possible, we collaborate with 28 farms and food hubs in the DMV to provide fresh, locally-sourced meals kids love. Last year, our team purchased over 258,424 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables for our school meals.

Events like the one held on Food Day educate students about healthy eating, but also encourage young children to taste food they might have never tried before. This hands-on, empowering approach to trying healthy food makes students that much more willing to taste the similar meals we provide on their lunch tray each day.