Standing on the steps of Orchard Gardens school in Roxbury on Wednesday morning, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the next investment in Boston’s school communities and students, this time in food.
City Fresh Foods, a Roxbury-based, black-owned, employee-owned foodservice company, will provide breakfast, lunch, after-school meals, fresh snacks and summer meals to nearly 50 000 Boston Public School students starting this summer.
“I’m so proud to partner with City Fresh to bring nutritious food to young people in our Boston public schools. And with this investment, we are leading by example, showing that it is possible to invest in local businesses that value workers who strive for and live racial equity, while receiving better food.
The contract is valued at more than $17 million, and Wu said it was the largest non-construction contract the city has awarded to a certified black-owned business.
“We’re so proud that this is a local Boston-based company,” Wu said at a press conference. “City Fresh is based in Roxbury and the majority of its employees are Boston residents, which means the people who feed our communities come from our communities, and…the hard-earned taxpayer money we invest in this contract goes back directly in the communities.”
City Fresh Foods Co-Founder and CEO Sheldon Lloyd said the company believes everyone deserves access to nutritious and delicious food, and expressed excitement about the new deal.
“[This is a] long to come,” Lloyd said at the press conference. “Twenty-eight years ago, City Fresh started on the corner of Dudley Street – a 1,200 square foot kitchen with less than 10 staff delivering a few hundred meals a day. And look at City Fresh now. We produce and deliver thousands of meals every day to people in the city of Boston and we have a team of 160 people.
Lloyd thanked Wu for his leadership and attention to a local and diverse economy.
“City Fresh is building a state-of-the-art institutional foodservice production facility in the heart of Roxbury to provide essential nutrition and flavor to even more children and families in the Greater Boston community for years to come. said Lloyd.
Wednesday’s announcement came just over a week after Wu last announced the city’s commitment to schools: The Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools. This plan includes improvements to school facilities, including up to $2 billion to launch 14 new construction or major renovation projects.
The new contract with City Fresh is another piece of that puzzle, Wu said.
“Our students deserve the school facilities that will support their education and learning, and provide them with the foundation to have all the resources in the world that we know Massachusetts students have, that contribute directly to their academic success, to their well-being. social and emotional being, their physical and mental health, and the stability of their families,” Wu said.
The partnership with City Fresh Foods will continue to meet the goals of the Good Food Purchasing program, to align the city’s food supply with “the goals of racial equity, environmental sustainability and local economic development,” according to a communicated.
Wu and Lloyd were joined by BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Chief Segun Idowu, and Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Chief Procurement Officer Ellen Hatch.
“As a kid who grew up in the projects, a kid on food stamps, I know very well the benefits of having fresh, nutritious food in our bellies,” Cassellius said. “We know that children cannot learn when they are hungry. The partnership announced today is just one more lever in the comprehensive approach we have taken with the City of Boston to ensure that every student has what they need to succeed.
The City Fresh team includes a registered dietician, according to a statement, who will be involved in analyzing the nutritional value of meals, tracking student participation and reducing food waste. Cassellius called the partnership “a great recipe for nurturing Boston’s future leaders,” in a statement.
“[City Fresh Foods’s] your commitment to reducing the use of processed foods and your dedication to local Boston neighborhoods are essential in our work to close food equity gaps in the city and ensure that every student is healthy, well nurtured and ready to learn,” Cassellius said. “I just can’t wait to see what’s on the menu this summer.”
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