SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 5, 2024) – Sodexo, a leader in serving and providing meals to students across the U.S., and Springfield Public Schools announced the fifth anniversary of Home Grown Springfield, a dining program dedicated to sourcing locally, providing quality food options and addressing student hunger among PreK-12 students. Funded in part by the city of Springfield, the program’s 62,000 sq.-ft centrally located culinary and nutritious center has generated more than 37 million meals and increased meal participation by 81 percent since 2019.

“Home Grown Springfield is a groundbreaking endeavor, revolutionizing K-12 dining in a way that’s never been done before,” said Joe Smith, Regional Vice President for Sodexo At School. “We’re making 5 to 7 scratch options a day for students, and ultimately, providing a culinary experience you don’t find in a typical school cafeteria. Additionally, this initiative demonstrates an enormous commitment to sustainability and waste reduction, local sourcing – with 25 percent of food costs spent on New England sourced food items -- and increasing meal participation.”  

Home Grown Springfield is redefining school meals with a commitment to made-from-scratch cooking and baking. From scratch-made falafel to scratch muffins, more popular with students and healthier than the typical prepackaged variety, the district’s central kitchen is home to students, staff and community food favorites found nowhere else. In addition to made-from-scratch dishes, Home Grown Springfield proudly sources ingredients locally, including corn tortillas made from locally grown corn, lettuce from Little Leaf Farms and pizza dough from One Mighty Mill.  


"Our top priority is ensuring students receive the nutrition vital for a productive learning environment," said Tim Gray, Food Service Administrator for Springfield Public Schools. "The Home Grown Springfield culinary innovation brought forth by Sodexo emphasizes student well-being, delightful taste and positive impact through practices like local sourcing. Springfield Public Schools is committed to creating a safe, clean, nurturing environment and these decisions are unequivocally beneficial to both our educational ecosystem and the broader community."  

With a commitment to making an impact, Home Grown Springfield works to eliminate student hunger within the district. Recognizing that poor nutrition and skipping meals has long term effects on students and academic performance, Sodexo and Springfield Public Schools have a goal of 90 percent student meal participation by 2025.  

"This is why we emphasize preparing food from scratch including recipes like Chef Drew Hall’s Italian meatballs, a cherished family recipe. Our focus is on creating meals that not only align with nutritional needs but also resonate with students' preferences, making them appealing choices for consumption and fueling them to perform academically,” said Sophia Papulis, Registered Dietitian for Sodexo. “That’s something we’ll never compromise at Home Grown Springfield.”   

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