Advancing her commitment to use the City’s purchasing power to invest in local businesses, Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Public Schools (BPS) today announced a new contract with City Fresh Foods. Beginning July 1, City Fresh Foods, a Roxbury-based employee- and Black-owned food service company, will provide breakfast, lunch, after-school meals, fresh snacks, and summer meals for Boston Public Schools. All meals will be freshly made in City Fresh’s Roxbury production facility with nutritious ingredients, including locally-sourced food. With a projected value of over $17 million, this is the largest non-construction contract the City has awarded to a certified Black-owned business.
Wednesday’s announcement follows the unveiling of a Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools, a commitment to school facilities upgrades that includes $2 billion to launch 14 new construction or major renovation projects and accelerate ongoing district-wide improvements, including improvements to school kitchens.
“Transformative change for BPS starts with the everyday experiences of our students, and this new contract ensures every child will have access to nutritious foods to energize and nourish them through the day,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We’re proud to partner with a local, Roxbury-based, Black-owned business to deliver for our young people.”
“Access to nutritious food helps keep our students healthy and well so that they can learn throughout the school day,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “Our new partnership with City Fresh ensures BPS students and staff have access to a wide range of culturally relevant, nutritious foods and keeps City dollars in our neighborhoods by supporting a black-owned business that represents the heart and soul of Roxbury. All in all, it’s a great recipe for nurturing the future leaders of Boston who are learning in our schools today.”
Through an expert culinary team, City Fresh Foods will design menus that ensure high-quality and nutrient-rich meals for nearly 50,000 BPS students. City Fresh will work with BPS to fulfill the goals of the Good Food Purchasing Program, championed by Mayor Wu when she served on the Boston City Council, to align the City’s food procurement with the goals of racial equity, environmental sustainability, and local economic development. The City Fresh Foods team includes a Registered Dietician to provide a comprehensive nutritional analysis of all meals, and strong mechanisms to monitor student participation and minimize food waste. In addition to providing nutritious meals, City Fresh Foods draws on a wide range of menu options to create culturally relevant meals for BPS students to enjoy. This new vended meals contract builds on recent investments to renovate BPS kitchens to enable scratch cooking on-site.
“At City Fresh we believe that everyone deserves access to nutritious and delicious food, and we are thrilled to partner with the Boston Public Schools to deliver great tasting meals to the public school community of Boston,” said Sheldon Lloyd, Co-Founder and CEO of City Fresh Foods. “Many of our employees, including me, have children in Boston Public Schools and we are deeply committed to further supporting our communities where we work, learn and live to simultaneously provide quality meals and support our local economy. We are grateful to the Wu Administration and Boston Public Schools for their partnership and look forward to getting started this summer.”
The initial Request for Proposals for the BPS vended meals contract was issued in January 2022, and focused on maximizing the quality of the meals provided to students and finding a vendor who would work with the City to find new and innovative ways to deliver meal service. An evaluation committee drawn from BPS and City staff unanimously recommended that City Fresh be awarded the contract based on its operational strength, its commitment to reducing the use of processed foods, and its dedication to Boston’s local neighborhoods.
“Mayor Wu promised to change how the City invests in our local businesses, and this is an example of the City putting its money where its mouth is,” said Segun Idowu, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion. “In addition to the value of this contract, awarding this contract to City Fresh Foods proves that local, employee-owned firms have the capacity, experience, fortitude, and the best plan to provide our City with high quality goods and services. This decision is in line with the vision of Mayor Wu and our Office to help close the racial wealth gap, and is a victory for Boston’s students, families, and our local community economies.”
“The award of this contract supports BPS’ efforts to provide nutritious food for students and represents a strong step towards increasing equity in City contracting,” said Ellen Hatch, Deputy Chief of Finance and Chief Procurement Officer. “We know that navigating the procurement process can be challenging for businesses, and under Mayor Wu’s leadership, we are working with all cabinets across the city to break down silos, streamline our operations, and make the procurement process more accessible to new and diverse businesses.”