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NYC awarded $100K grant to boost plant-based culinary skills in correctional facilities

A five-week training course and certification process will be created to train kitchen staff at Rikers Island and two juvenile justice centers

City of New York Corrections Officer on duty

Photo/James Keivom of New York Daily News via TNS

By Corrections1 Staff

NEW YORK — New York City has received a $100,000 grant aimed at enhancing the culinary skills of food service workers in correctional facilities, focusing on the preparation of healthier, plant-based meals.

This initiative, announced by the NYC Department of Correction, the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy and the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), involves collaboration with Hot Bread Kitchen. A five-week training course will be developed, alongside a train-the-trainer certificate process, to equip kitchen staff at Rikers Island and two juvenile justice centers with the skills needed to craft menus featuring whole, plant-based proteins and other nutritious options.

“Healthy, whole foods are critical to everyone’s health and wellbeing. We must not let incarceration be a barrier to accessing healthy food options,” said DOC Commissioner Lynelle Maginley-Liddie. “This initiative will enhance Department of Correction culinary workers’ ability to provide high-quality meals. I’m grateful for Hot Bread Kitchen’s partnership in this effort and thankful to the mayor for his ongoing commitment to expand healthy food options for all New Yorkers.”

This training is funded by the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s Game Changer Fund and aligns with ongoing city efforts to offer nutritious, plant-forward options in public institutions. The move aims to improve food quality for individuals in custody, supporting their health and facilitating successful community reintegration while also reducing food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

New York City serves over 6.6 million meals and snacks annually across DOC and ACS facilities, investing about $22 million each year. The initiative is part of a larger effort to ensure all New Yorkers have access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, leveraging institutional food procurement as a critical tool for promoting equity and public health.

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