The Baltimore City Public School System reached another milestone in its pledge to provide students healthier food options. Beginning next school year, culinary arts students will prepare dinner for their peers who lack access to a healthy supper at home. The program is the first of its kind in the country.

“These kids are making history,” said Anthony Geraci, BCPS director of food and nutrition. “It’s the first time in the country that kids are preparing meals for other students.”

A thousand meals a day will be prepared by students for other students. Some of the menu items will be planted, harvested and grown by students themselves from the Great Kids Farm in Baltimore County.

Located in Catonsville, students visit the 33-acre farm as their own laboratory for cultivating the food they serve.

“We’re growing fruit, we’re growing vegetables, we have goats, we have chickens, we have bees,” said Mike Thomas, Learning to Work director. “Our students can go out and get real experience in environmental science.”

Launched at Carver Vocational-Technical High School, BCPS CEO Andrés Alonso said the program is a part of the district’s food reform efforts. He recalled visiting a school cafeteria and talking with a student who enjoyed eating the first fresh peach she’d ever had.

“These are the kinds of things that are beginning to happen,” Alonso said. “I think that providing our kids with healthy food choices is critical to their success in school. Nutrition in schools is beginning to change the culture in our schools.”