Cassandria Campbell, MCP ’11, traces her interest in food back to her first summer job working with the Food Project on farms in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and Roxbury, the Boston neighborhood where she grew up. “I really enjoyed the experience of seeing things grow, and I appreciate the amount of change you’ve made in Roxbury by bringing people together and turning vacant land into productive urban farms,” she recalls. It wasn’t until she returned to Roxbury after her graduation when she decided to dive into the food industry full time by founding Fresh Food Generation – a company that strives to make healthy food choices easier.
While earning her master’s degree in urban planning development at MIT, Campbell learned about the growing movement for healthy fast food options. Her moment of serenity came one night when she was leaving the Roxbury YMCA and realized that the only dinner spots nearby were “unhealthy” fast food restaurants, unlike those near MIT. “It just hit me. Fast food shouldn’t be your only option,” she says. “People have lower quality life experiences because of food choices.”
To tackle the problem, she came up with the idea of starting a company that would serve up healthy, quick, Caribbean-inspired meals made with locally sourced ingredients. Fresh Food Generation started as a food truck in Roxbury and nearby areas, hiring experienced chefs to develop menus. While the truck is still in business, the company has since expanded its focus to include catering, collaborating with organizations that wanted to offer healthier, more culturally relevant meals at their events.
Two weeks into the outbreak, Fresh Food Generation received a call from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare asking to work together to provide meals for food insecure people. The company has partnered with Mass General Brigham to send customized grocery boxes to Medicaid recipients with specific nutritional needs. The company has also moved into takeaway home delivery and has begun shipping nationwide.
Most recently, Fresh Food Generation launched a menu inspired by New Orleans chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase. “It was really fun to eat food that interacts with people. It becomes an experience — it becomes about telling the stories,” Campbell says.
And in 2021, the company opened a permanent restaurant in Dorchester. “I really enjoy being able to serve people food with love, and knowing that what I give to someone will taste good and be good for their bodies,” she says.