DC Central Kitchen is starting 2024 by bringing our award-winning farm-to-school model to more DC Public Schools! We are thrilled to have been selected to serve high-quality, scratch-cooked meals at 12 additional DC Public Schools in Wards 7 and 8. Once these schools are onboarded over the course of January and February, a total of 24 DC Public Schools will be engaged in our Healthy School Food program.
This expansion means DC Central Kitchen will be able to ensure that more DCPS students receive the essential nutrition they need to learn and grow. At the same time, we will be able to create and sustain meaningful, living-wage careers for adults who have completed our Culinary Job Training program and overcome barriers to employment. We source school ingredients for our daily breakfast, lunch, and supper service from dozens of local family farms and food hubs. Every meal is cooked from scratch according to recipes designed by our expert team of chefs and dietitians with active input from DCPS students.
In addition to providing meals in cafeterias, we are empowering students through engaging taste tests and nutrition education that features our mobile urban garden, Truck Farm. Our approach fosters healthy eating habits that will benefit students throughout their lives through programming that is relatable, accessible, and community-oriented. Monthly events like our Fresh Feature Friday taste tests offer “a fun and interactive way for students to try new vegetables and have a say in what we serve,” says Sami Reilly, our Director of Contract Meals and Nutrition.
“This new contract represents a powerful next step in our long-standing partnership with DC Public Schools, which launched back in 2010,” says DC Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin. “Since then, we have shown that we can meet the highest national standards for nutrition and sustainability while serving delicious meals that kids love. Our 92% student satisfaction rating speaks to the quality of our meals and the care shown by our food service professionals, many of whom are graduates of our Culinary Job Training program. Bringing our model to 12 additional DC Public Schools this year is a win for kids, school communities, and the future of our city.”
We’ll be phasing into these additional schools over the next six weeks in close coordination with DCPS officials and individual school communities. The new cluster of DC Public Schools served by our Healthy School Food program includes:
We thank these school communities for welcoming us and look forward to years of student-centered partnerships! We appreciate the trust of parents, educators, and DCPS leadership as we continue to enhance school nutrition programs in our city together. For a full listing of District schools supported by our Healthy School Food program, menus, and more, please visit our Healthy School Food page!