Improving access to healthy, fast-casual food

Cassandria Campbell, MCP ’11, explores her interest in food in her first summer job working with food projects on farms in Lincoln, Massachusetts and Roxbury, where she grew up. She recalls, “I really enjoyed the experience of seeing things grow, and I admired how much Roxbury is changing by bringing people together and turning spaces into productive urban farms.” By the time she returned to Roxbury after graduation, she had decided to dive into the full-time food industry by founding Fresh Food Generation – a company that strives to make healthier food options more accessible.

While pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning development at MIT, Campbell was introduced to the growing movement of healthy, fast-casual food options. The moment of her clarification came one night when she was leaving Roxbury YMC and realized that the only dinner venues nearby were “unhealthy” fast food restaurants, in contrast to restaurants near MIT. “It just hits me. Fast food shouldn’t be your only option,” she says. “People are experiencing low-quality living because of food choices.”

To tackle the problem, she came up with the idea of ​​a company that offers healthy, fast-casual, Caribbean-inspired meals made from locally sourced ingredients. The Fresh Food Generation began as a food truck in and around Roxbury, with experienced chefs hired to develop the menu. While the truck is still operating, the company has expanded its focus on catering, partnering with organizations that want to serve healthier and more culturally relevant meals at their events.

Two weeks after the epidemic, Fresh Food Generation received a call from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation asking them to work together to provide food to those struggling with food insecurity. The company partnered with Mass General Brigham to send customized grocery boxes to Medicaid recipients with specific dietary requirements. The company has also transitioned to home delivery of ready meals and has also started shipping across the country.

Recently, Fresh Food Generation launched a menu inspired by New Orleans chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase. “It was really fun to interact with people. It becomes an experience – it’s about storytelling, “says Campbell.

And in 2021, the company opened a permanent restaurant in Dorchester. “I really enjoy being able to feed people with love, and knowing that what I’m giving someone tastes good and is good for their body,” she says.

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