Improving the Quality of Institutional Food in New York State: Scaling Up the Teaching Kitchen
Building Healthy Communities
June 24, 2019
Approximately 67 million New York City-funded meals and snacks per year are prepared by community-based organizations and served in differing settings, such as senior centers, homeless shelters, public hospitals, and childcare centers. The clients served by these programs experience greater health inequities and food insecurity than the general population. To help address this issue, the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House (LHNH) started The Teaching Kitchen in 2015. This program offers a farm-to-institution training course, free of charge, to nonprofit food service program directors, chefs, nutritionists, and lead kitchen staff who design menus, order supplies, provide nutrition oversight and programming, and prepare food. Participants learn how to implement organizational changes to increase the quality of food they serve without raising costs. In 2018, NYSHealth awarded LHNH a grant to expand The Teaching Kitchen program and offer technical assistance to organizations beyond New York City. In 2019, NYSHealth awarded LHNH a second grant to further scale up and streamline The Teaching Kitchen across New York State.
Under this grant, LHNH will expand its program to reach 150 organizations that serve roughly 10 million meals annually across New York State, including sites in the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund communities of Syracuse and Niagara. LHNH will build upon its existing program to create a one-day training option that will make it easier for more community-based organizations to participate, especially those outside New York City. LHNH will share print and online resources, such as a recently published farm-to-institution cookbook, as well as develop additional materials for organizations to use across the State. Additionally, The Teaching Kitchen website will be redesigned to include more in-depth information to supplement the in-person trainings. It will also launch a YouTube series of videos and cooking demonstrations in English and Spanish. Through this project, LHNH will be able to reach nonprofit food service organizations across the State on a much larger scale—offering them the tools and support they need to serve more fresh, healthy, local food to their clients.