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Cooking Matters kids holding up pizza creations

Full Futures: Year two of our school nutrition program


Our signature community affairs program, Full Futures, launched two years ago in recognition of the vital role schools play in providing daily nutrition to children. Alongside our incredible community partners, we’re working to advance the school food environment—we’re upgrading cafeteria equipment, expanding meal programs, and adding appealing new items to menus.

In year one, we made solid progress in our hometown of Camden, New Jersey. In year two, we continued to build the Camden program and expanded to include schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, home to our Charlotte bakery.

Learn more about the 2022-2023 school year initiatives and what our community partners have accomplished so far.


8.6 k

students in Camden and Charlotte school districts.



pilot schools with specific program support, in addition to district-wide initiatives.


135 +

events, and community and family activities.

Charlotte Kickoff: Family Nutrition Night

The Full Futures program kicked off in Charlotte with a Family Nutrition Night at Garinger High School in East Charlotte. Designed to showcase nutrition and farm to table concepts, the event was made possible thanks to our district partners in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) department.

Students and local community partners came together for a night filled with fun activities including a cooking demonstration with culinary students from the CTE department, free food samples, and lessons on aquaponics and culinary career pathways. Families in attendance also received free fresh produce boxes.

Representatives from our community partner, The Bulb, unpack produce boxes that were gifted at Family Nutrition Night.

Expanding nutrition access

In Camden, the Center for Family Services worked with partners to update a Food Access Map, highlighting meals and food distribution sites in the local community. Available in both English and Spanish, the map was one of the many bilingual promotional materials created this year that improved information about Camden food resources.

An example of one of the Food Access Maps created this year by the Center for Family Services in Camden.

Developing leaders in nutrition

Full Futures is committed to educating and empowering teachers and staff so they can help students understand the importance of good nutrition.

In Charlotte, aquaponics and hydroponics systems, two of the most sustainable food-growing systems, were installed in four local schools. Twenty-three teachers were taught about their basic functions and how to integrate them into their lesson plans as part of a summer professional development course.

Hydroponics, as pictured above, is a method of growing plants without soil. Instead, plants are grown in a nutrient-rich water-based solution. Aquaponics is a method of farming that raises edible freshwater fish and vegetables together in a symbiotic environment.

Teaching students how to cook

We continued successful Camden programs like Cooking Matters at Campbell’s headquarters. Once a week for six weeks, fourth graders and employee volunteers gathered in our kitchens for interactive cooking lessons led by The Food Bank of South Jersey.

Students learned about dietary guidelines and how to make a meal. They were then given ingredients so they could cook the recipes at home with their families.

Students show-off their vegetable pizzas during a Cooking Matters class.

The program has become a favorite of many students. After six weeks, 86% agreed that they have a better understanding of how to eat healthy and 83% cooked a recipe they learned in class at home with their family.

Partnering with local farms

A key element of Full Futures is helping procure nutritious and locally sourced ingredients for schools to incorporate into student menus. This year, the Camden School Nutrition team was again able to work with The Common Market and its farm partners to receive weekly deliveries of locally sourced produce from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Additionally, thanks to Full Futures, the district was provided with $90,000 as an incentive to purchase food locally as part of a farm-to-school pilot. The results were impressive:


180 k

dollars into the local economy.


105 k

lbs. of local food.



local farms in the area.

More mushrooms, please!

What’s even more impressive are the menu changes being implemented because of this partnership. In March, mushrooms were served for the first time in Camden schools. They were also procured locally, thanks to the farm-to-school pilot, from Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms in Landenberg, PA.

“We would never have known that our students like mushrooms if we weren’t able to bring mushrooms in through the procurement incentive because that’s not something that we would have purchased in our regular school meals program.”

– Arlethia Brown, Senior Director, Camden School Nutrition
100% of our Camden Youth Advisory Council (CYAC) tried the mushroom pasta pictured above for the first time and 72% would likely choose it again if served as their meal.

Students and food service leadership who previously believed they didn’t like mushrooms, found that when prepared in different ways, mushrooms could be delicious! Based on the amount of positive feedback, mushrooms were even included in produce boxes distributed to community members.

What’s next?

We’ll use our learnings and continue to build momentum in year three of the partnership with a focus on:

Want to learn more about Full Futures? Read our Year Two Impact Report. You can also learn more about our amazing community partners bringing this work to life.


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