At the end of November, the Central Kitchen construction in the Irongate area was officially completed and unveiled to the public.
The Central Kitchen is a community-inspired project that has been many years in the making. With the support of Bellingham voters on the 2013 and 2018 bond, along with a supplemental grant of $1 million from the Whatcom Community Foundation and the passion of a farm-to-table community, it is now a reality. The new kitchen will give Bellingham Public Schools the ability to provide less processed, more scratch-prepared food to students and staff. Bellingham Public Schools is another step further on the path to reach the Food Services Vision:
We encourage a lifetime of healthy eating by serving students nourishing, delicious, whole foods in a welcoming environment.
The transition to the new space will continue to take time and planning to make it fully operational. The first phase of implementation will begin over winter break with the Food Services office staff moving in. With the old Sehome High production kitchen going offline at the end of January, more daily tasks will be moved over to the Central Kitchen. Staffing for the Central Kitchen has already begun.
The Food Services program can now begin to transition to more minimally processed food while staff learn how to use the new equipment. The program is now able to handle fresh vegetables, fruit and meat from more locally-sourced farmers and producers. One of the first menu items to go through a transformation will be the way lettuces are processed in-house, improving freshness and variety on the school salad bars.
To view more photos of the ribbon-cutting and the shiny, new kitchen, visit our Flickr album.