Fresh Take Blog

FoodPrints Students Visit DC Central Kitchen and Dream Big

By Anna Moore  |  Aug. 8, 2023

Feeling like a part of a larger cause can be invigorating, especially for young students. This summer, FoodPrints students at four DC Public Schools Summer Academy sites took a trip to DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) a DC-based nonprofit that fights hunger and poverty through job creation. The organization provides hands-on culinary job training. DCCK chefs create farm-to-school meals for DC schools and delivering fresh, affordable produce — some of which is sourced from FRESHFARM’s Pop Up Food Hub — to corner stores in underserved neighborhoods. For one afternoon this summer, FoodPrints students got to be part of the operation.

“This Is My Dream Job!”

Beaming with excitement and curiosity, the students walked into the open-layout “real life” kitchen space. They washed hands and put on food safety aprons, hair nets, and gloves, and then entered the training kitchen, a spacious room where DCCK student chefs awaited them. Working side by side the chefs taught our students how to chiffonade cut curly kale into delicate ribbons and how to slice tomatoes for sandwiches. DCCK provided child-safe knives, which the students were familiar with from FoodPrints classrooms. Groups of students worked together on different parts of the process: some made turkey and cheese paninis, some packed granola, and others made pizzas​​.

“I love this! This is my dream job!”, said Mila as she focused on packing roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, and rice into trays. By having this experience in a real kitchen, our students were instilled with a sense of pride.

Meeting Your Hero

This hands-on engagement allows students to be a part of DC Central Kitchen’s larger goal of providing fresh food for people around the District. You could feel their excitement as they were trusted with this important task. The DCCK chefs talked to students about who they’ve worked with in the past — including the President of the United States! Being able to visualize themselves in important roles helped students dream about their futures. “I wish we could come here everyday,” said Harris as he scooped rice into his tray. “Maybe we should volunteer!” Skylette responded as they worked together as a team to prepare over 300 meals.

Students from Kimball Elementary met a Kimball alum, Davon, who is a DCCK chef, which sparked their curiosity as they were able to see possibilities to be part of the DCCK mission.

“It was fun and hard, but it was a lot!” said Sam as the class began to take off their gloves and hairnets. Many students shared that they wanted to return with their families and tell them all about what they had worked on — some even said that they wanted to stay overnight in the kitchen.

Engaging with the Local Food System In Action

Engaging with our local food system is a crucial part of the FoodPrints program. This field trip to DC Central Kitchen presented students with real-life examples of role models with similar backgrounds. By working alongside the DCCK chefs, they were inspired to get involved in their communities and dream of a better food future.

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