What’s On Your Plate?

There are over 1,700 public schools in New York City, making it the largest system of public schools in the United States. SchoolFood, the supplier of food to NYC schools, serves about 850,000 meals every school day and offers specific menu choices, such as the Alternative Food Program. Who decides what food is on the menu? How can you influence the food choices at school?

In the spring of 2017, CUP and Community Food Action at New Settlement Apartments collaborated with Teaching Artist Elma Relihan and public high school students from the Comprehensive Model School Project (CMSP 327) to get the scoop on the Alternative Food Program. To investigate, students got out of the classroom and into the cafeteria, surveying community members and interviewing key decision makers on the Alternative Food Program. Students created What’s On Your Plate? as a guide to school menu choices and how communities can get involved in the type of food served at public schools. 

Students debuted their project at CMSP 327’s library, where they presented their poster, demonstrated their interview skills, and shared their creative process with middle school students. 

Get your own poster here!

What People are Saying

This project helped me learn about my independence and rights, unlike a normal classroom where all I need to do is pass the class. I learned that I have a voice and my opinion should be heard.” – Xilene Gomez, student

We were able to collect different perspectives about our cause by talking to people behind the decisions of school food. We immersed ourselves as investigative journalists to find answers.” – Rolphy Guzman, student

This project was successful because of all the information we were able to gather. The art we created came together to influence and inform students about what their school food lunches could be. Food can be good and healthy if we ask for it.” – Maria De Los Santos, student

Resources & Links

The Comprehensive Model School Project (CMSP 327) is a 6th to 12th grade New York City Public school of over 700 students with the belief that all students can and will learn.

Community Food Action at New Settlement Apartments advances community wellbeing in the Mt. Eden neighborhood of the Bronx by embedding holistic education around food issues into local institutions, developing community leadership, and integrating healthful, sustainably sourced, and fairly produced food into the environment. 

Funding Support

Major support for this program was provided by The Levitt Foundation (Community Food Action).

Additional support was provided by the Bay and Paul Foundations, the New York Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Diana Cimino, Kent Gifford, Jessica Herzog, Aaron Jones, Mia Lee, Dr. Charles Platkin, Stephen O’Brien, Irina Vinnitskaya, Marion Williams


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Elma Relihan
  • Project Lead
  • Jenn Anne Williams
  • Project Support
  • Christy Herbes 
  • New Settlement Apartments
  • Director of Community Food Action
  • Taisy Conk

  • Director of Community-School Partnerships
  • Vivian Vazquez

  • CMSP 327
  • Students
  • Shantel Adams 
  • Vanissa Addo
  • Esmerlyn Almonte
  • Yoandry Angeles
  • Jill Amponsen
  • Ircania Aybar
  • Frank Bautista
  • Maria De La Santos
  • Jasmine Estrella
  • Ashley Felix
  • Mariyamo Fofana
  • Xilene Gomez
  • Rolphy Guzman
  • Bintou Jallow
  • Magdelyn Jimenez
  • Suiabu Karaga
  • Denisse Lopez
  • Paulina Lopez
  • Patricia Mendez
  • Christopher Ortiz
  • Prince Owusu-Boamah
  • Audrey Paulino
  • Servio Perez
  • Jobriana Rodriquez
  • Daylenis Salce
  • Nahomi Zambrano
  • Lina Zevallos
  • Principal
  • Alixandre Ricci