New York City schools are capable of providing fresh meals made from scratch, according to a new report from the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy that sheds light on what is possible for the largest school district in the country, which serves 900,000 meals each day.

“Parents, students, advocates and politicians are all clamoring for better school food,” writes the Tisch Food Center’s Executive Director Pamela Koch in a New York Daily News op-ed. “As our research showed, with the right dedication and investment, scratch cooking can be our past and our future.”

Pamela Koch

Pam Koch

Pamela Koch, Executive Director and Associate Research Professor, Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education and Policy and program in Nutrition

The report is the result of the Center’s years-long evaluation of the Department of Education’s scratch-cooking pilot program and follows the city’s recent bill calling for a plan to fully adopt freshly cooked food service. Despite finding that New York schools can make fresh food a reality for its students, the report also identifies key points of action needed for valuable nutritional changes in cafeterias across the city.

“New York City will have to make serious investments in kitchen infrastructure, staff training and advancement, and better coordinate everyone involved in school food,” writes Koch.“To have real success, everyone with a stake in our children’s health and well-being will need to build student excitement about eating scratch-cooked school meals.”

Read Koch’s op-ed and learn more about the Tisch Food Center’s research.