Cassandria Campbell, MCP ’11, traces her interest in food to her first summer job working with the Food Project on farms in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and Roxbury, the Boston district where she grew up. “I really enjoyed that experience of seeing things grow,” he recalls, “and I appreciated how much change I was creating in Roxbury by bringing people together and turning vacancies into productive urban farming.” It wasn’t until she moved to Roxbury after graduate school that she decided to immerse herself in the full-time food industry by founding Fresh Food Generation – a company that strives to make healthy food options more accessible.
It was while earning his master’s degree in urban planning development at MIT that Campbell was introduced to the growing movement of healthy and fast food options. His moment of clarity came one night as he was leaving the Roxbury YMCA and realized that the only places for dinner nearby were “unhealthy” fast food, unlike those near MIT. “It just struck me. Fast food shouldn’t be the only option,” he says. “People have a lower quality of life experience because of food options.”
To address the problem, he came up with the idea of a company that serves healthy, fast-casual, Caribbean-inspired meals made from locally sourced ingredients. Fresh Food Generation started out as a food truck in Roxbury and the surrounding areas, hiring experienced chefs to develop less. While the truck is still in operation, the company has since expanded its focus to catering, in collaboration with organizations that wanted to serve healthier and more culturally relevant meals at its events.
Two weeks after the pandemic, Fresh Food Generation received a call from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation asking them to work together to provide food to people struggling with food insecurity. The company has partnered with Mass Brigham General to send personalized food boxes to Medicaid recipients with specific dietary needs. The company has also moved into home delivery of prepared meals and has even begun shipping across the country.
Recently, Fresh Food Generation debuted a menu inspired by New Orleans chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase. “It was really fun to have food that is interactive with people. It becomes an experience, it becomes a narrative,” says Campbell.
And in 2021, the company opened a permanent restaurant in Dorchester. “I really enjoy being able to provide people with food with love, and knowing that what I give to someone tastes good and is good for their body,” he says.