Midwest Region


Students Served
Salad Bars
School Gardens
Healthy Teachers Trained
Total Invested

Chicago Public Schools educated nearly 400,000 students on 514 campuses. 35.9% of students in the district are African American. 46.6% are Hispanic. School food at CPS has been fairly progressive over the past 10 years. The district partnered with the WFM’s Midwest Region and a local supplier to make the largest purchase of organic chicken by a school district in history. The purchase was part of their efforts to serve cooked from scratch meals. The district has a significant number of salad bars that were part of Chartwell’s, a third party meal provider’s program. Which is why WKF has not funded more. The district is under a food service contract with Aramark.

WKF has partnered deeply with CPS on its garden program. In alignment with our focus on building capacity, we supported the district in hiring their first garden coordinator. The position was such a success that the district was able to fund it much sooner than planned. The coordinator went on to develop procedures that allow school gardens to grow food that is served in school cafeterias - including HACCP standards and safety guidelines. This work later became part of our Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit that has been broadly implemented - even by entire states like Hawaii.

The district hired Harold Chapman into the garden coordinator role nearly two years ago. His focus has been adding a hydroponic growing program to middle schools across the city - in addition to maintaining hundreds of traditional school gardens. WKF recently provided additional support to help build capacity that will double the scope of this garden program.

Chicago Special Projects


When WKF made a commitment to serve Englewood in a new way, we were luck to meet the Gardeneers. This locally led organization provides supported community garden programs in the Englewood and North Lawndale neighborhoods. Please take time to watch and listen to the story of Homan Rails Farm - it is truly inspiring.

UIC ORIENTAL INSTITUTE - Healthy Kids Innovation Grant Recipient

The Oriental Institute will use the grant to help fund a program for teachers that uses the archaeological exploration of food, health and nutrition in ancient civilizations to help students understand human diets and the importance of food diversity for health. The Oriental Institute is dedicated to providing learning opportunities about the cultures of the ancient Near East to children. This new program will help teachers connect children with the lives of ancient peoples and help them make healthy, educated food decisions. Thirty 5th through 8th grade teachers from the Chicago area will train to use this curriculum to teach nutrition and gardening through the lens of ancient archeology.