City awards Roxbury-based City Fresh Foods $17 million contract for Boston Public Schools

Starting in July, the Roxbury-based company will provide meals and snacks for the city's schools.

Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius at the Green New Deal for BPS announcement May 12. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Standing on the steps of the Orchard Gardens school in Roxbury Wednesday morning, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the next investment in Boston’s school communities and students, this time with regards to food. 

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 nearly 50,000 Boston Public School students starting this summer. 

“I’m so proud to partner with City Fresh to bring young people nutritious food 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, that strive and live racial equity, and still receive higher quality food.” 


The contract is valued at over $17 million, and Wu said it is the largest non-construction contract the city has awarded to a certified Black-owned business. 

“We’re so proud that it is a local, Boston-based business,” Wu said at a press conference. “City Fresh is Roxbury based and a majority of their employees are Boston residents, meaning that the people feeding our communities are from our communities, and … the hard-earned taxpayer dollars that we are investing in this contract go right back into communities.”

Co-founder and CEO of City Fresh Foods, Sheldon Lloyd, said the company believes everyone deserves access to nutritious and delicious food, and expressed his excitement about this new contract. 

“[This is a] long time coming,” Lloyd said at the press conference. “Twenty-eight years ago, City Fresh began around the corner on Dudley Street — 1,200-square-foot kitchen with less than 10 employees delivering a couple hundred meals a day. And look at City Fresh now. We produce and deliver thousands of meals every day to residents of the city of Boston and we have a team of 160 locals.”

Lloyd thanked Wu for her leadership and attention to a local and diverse economy. 


“City Fresh is building a state-of-the-art institutional food service production plant in the heart of Roxbury to provide critical nutrition and flavor to even more children and families in the Greater Boston community for years to come,” Lloyd said. 

Wednesday’s announcement came a little more than a week after Wu’s last announcement regarding the city’s commitment to schools: The Green New Deal for Boston Public Schools. That plan includes school facility upgrades, 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 nurture their education and learning, and provide the foundation for them to have all the resources in the world that we know students across Massachusetts have, that directly contribute to their academic achievement, their social and emotional well being, their physical and mental health, and also the stability of their families,” Wu said. 

The partnership with City Fresh Foods will continue to reach for the goals of the Good Food Purchasing Program, to align the city’s food procurement with “goals of racial equity, environmental sustainability, and local economic development,” according to a release. 


Wu and Lloyd were joined by BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Segun Idowu, and Deputy Chief of Finance and Chief Procurement Officer Ellen Hatch.

“As a child who grew up in the projects, a child on food stamps, I know full well the benefits of having fresh, nutritious food in our tummies,” Cassellius said. “We know that children can’t learn when they go hungry. The partnership being announced today is just one more lever in the all-hands-on-deck approach that we’ve been taking with the city of Boston to ensure that every single 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 nutrition value of meals, monitoring student participation and minimizing food waste. Cassellius called the partnership a “great recipe for nurturing the future leaders of Boston,” in a statement.

“[City Fresh Foods’s] commitment to reducing the use of processed foods and your dedication to Boston local neighborhoods is critical in our work towards closing food equity gaps in the city and making sure every student is healthy, well nourished and ready to learn,” Cassellius said. “I just can’t wait to see what’s on the menu this summer.”


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