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Bringing healthy, ready to eat food to lower-income communities


Bringing healthy, ready to eat food to lower-income communities

Fresh Food Generation is working to further food justice across Boston, the company was aided by Commonwealth Kitchen in Dorchester


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♪ ANTHONY: AS A TEENAGER IN ROXBURY, CASSONDRA SPENT THREE YEARS WORKING ON A FARM. LATER WHEN I WAS ADULT AND HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE IN OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS, OTHER COUNTRIES, AND EVENTUALLY COME BA TO MY HOMETOWN, ROXBURY, AND REALIZED OUR FOOD SITUATION WAS AN OK. ANTHONY: SHE SAYS IT IS HARDER TO FIND HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE, READY TO IN LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES. IN 201 SHE TEAMED UP WITH HER FRIEND, WHO STUDI AGRICULTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT. THEIR IDEA? FRESH FOOD GENERATION. >> AS A BUSINESS, OUR CORE TENETS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AROUND HOW DO WE GET GOOD FOOD TO EVERYBODY? SO EVERYBODY CAN BE SUCCESSFUL, THRIVE, B HEALTHY, LIVE A GOOD LIFE. ANTHONY: FRESH FOOD GENERATION, OR FFG, HAS A CAFE THAT IS CLOSED DURING THE PANDEMIC. FOR NOW, THE FOCUS IS FOOD TRUCKS AND CATERING. ONE OF THE COMPANY’S MOST LOYAL CLIENTS IS TEMPLE ISRAEL IN BROOKLINE. FFG IS USING THE KITCHEN THERE WHILE THE TEMPLE IS CLOSED. HERE, STAFF PREPARE MEA TO SELL AND GIVE AWAY. FFG IS ALSO PROVIDING EMERGENCY FOOD TO THOSE IN NEED. >> WE ARE BRINGING THEM A BOX OF PRODUCE, INCLUDING VEGETABLES AND FRUITS AND DRIED GOODS. WE ARE ALSO BRINGING THEM COOK PROTEIN. — COOKED PROTEIN. ♪ ANTHONY: MUCH OF THAT PRODUCE COMES FROM THE FOOD PROJECT, A NONPROFIT IN LINCOLN. IT IS ALSO WHERE CAMPBELL USED TO WORK. >> THEY ARE DROPPING OFF THAT IS ENOUGH FOR 100 FAMILIES EACH WEEK. WE ARE THEN BRINGING IN OVER TWO CHELSEA IN EAST BOSTON — TO CHELSEA IN EAST BOSTON. ANTHONY: THEY ENVISION NEXT STEPS. I WANT MY KIDS TO WALK DOWN THE STREET AND GET SOMETHING HEALTHY TO EAT. IT IS WHAT GETS ME UP EVERY MORNING. >> WE ARE SEARCHING FOR A BRICK-AND-MORTAR SPACE SPECIFICALLY WITHIN ROXBURY, MATTAPAN. MY DREAM IS TO OPEN A RESTAURANT ON A FARM IN THE CITY THAT ALLOW PEOPLE TO ENJOY HEALTHY, TASTY MEALS WITHOUT BREAKING SOMEBODY’S BANK ACCOUNT. ANTHON OTHER DREAMS ARE BEING REALIZED INSIDE THIS 12,000 SQUARE-FOOT BUILDING IN DORCHESTER. >> I CAME INTO COMMONWEALTH BECAUSE I WAS SEARCHING F AN INCUBATOR OR SOME TYPE OF COMPANY THAT CAN HEL ME START FROM THE GROUND UP. ANTHONY: AT COMMONWEALTH KITCHEN, FOOD STARTUPS LITERALLY START. THIS NONPROFIT HELPS SMALL BUSINE OWNERS PERFECT RECIPES, MANUFACTURE AND MARKET THEIR PRODUCTS. CAMPBELL CREDITS COMMONWEALTH KITCHEN WITH GIVING HER COMPANY THE TIME AND ROOM TO GROW. >> IN THE RESTAURANT FOOD INDUSTRY, 85% OF BUSINESSES FAIL IN THE FIRST THREE YEARS. I THINK IT WAS BECAUSE WE HAD THEIR SUPPORT THAT WE WERE ABLE TO SUCCEED. >> IT TAKES MONEY. [LAUGHTER] IT TAKES MONEY, WHICH IS WHAT WE HELP OUT WITH IN THE BEGINNING SO YOU DON’T HAVE THAT UPFRONT COST. ANTHON HE IS TALKING ABOUT RESOURCES SUCH AS LARGE AFFECTIONAL KITCHENS AND EXPERT ADVISORS. HE IS COMMONWEALTH KITCHEN’S DIRECTOR OF MANUFACTURING AND BUSINESS OPERATION HE IS ALSO A CHEF AND RESTAURANT OWNER IN VERMONT. >> WE HAVE GOT AN AMAZING TEAM OF PEOPLE. THEY ARE GOOD AT FOOD SAFETY. HOW MANY ITERATIONS YOU NEED TO GO INTO A WHOLE FOODS. 75% OF OUR COMPANIES ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR. ANTHONY: ONE OF THOSE COMPANIES IS FRESH ZEN FOODS. >> WHAT I MAKE IS AN ASIAN STYLE PESTO. IS THE — IT IS ONLY MAD WITH FIVE OR SIX INGREDIENTS. ANTHONY: THE CEO AND FOUNDER SAYS FRESH ZEN IS AN HOMAGE TO HER PARENTS, TO IMMIGRATED TO NEW YORK FROM HONG KONG. >> WHEN MY PARENTS CAME OVER HERE, NO ONE WOULD HIRE THEM. THEY WERE SWEEPING FLOORS AND WASHING DISHE MY DAD OPENED HIS OWN CHINESE RESTAURANT. ANTHONY: HER FATHER’S GENDER-BASED SAUCE BECAME POPULAR — GINGER-BASED SAU BECAME POPULAR WITH CUSTOMERS. YEARS LATER, EVERYTHING CAME FULL CIRCLE. >> I COULD THROW IT ON CHICKEN, TOSS IT ONTO VEGETABLES, AND I HAVE A FULL MEAL. MY DAUGHTER WAS SITTING AT THE TABLE. SHE SAYS MOM, QUIT YOUR JOB. I THINK YOU SHOULD SELL SAUCE. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THAT. I SAID THAT TO MY DAD. ANTHONY: SO SHE QUIT HER JOB IN CORPORATE MARKETING. TODAY HER PRODUCTS ARE SOLD IN MORE THAN 30 WHOLE FOODS STORES. >> I FELT LIKE IT WAS MY TIME TO BRING TRADITION AND BE ABLE TO SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD. ♪ ANTHONY: BACK TO FFG, THEIR EMERGENCY FOOD OPERATION IS FEEDING 100 FAMILIES IN ROXBURY TWICE A WEEK. COMING UP, FOOD FOR THE SO

Bringing healthy, ready to eat food to lower-income communities

Fresh Food Generation is working to further food justice across Boston, the company was aided by Commonwealth Kitchen in Dorchester

Two friends met on a farm as teenagers and years later, founded Fresh Food Generation, a catering and food truck company that’s all about food justice. They learned how to launch their business at Commonwealth Kitchen, a Dorchester nonprofit that trains would-be entrepreneurs in how to manufacture and market their food products.

Two friends met on a farm as teenagers and years later, founded Fresh Food Generation, a catering and food truck company that’s all about food justice. They learned how to launch their business at Commonwealth Kitchen, a Dorchester nonprofit that trains would-be entrepreneurs in how to manufacture and market their food products.



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