Transforming School Lunches by Providing Nutritious Meals and After School Cooking Classes

by Deirdre Appel
Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Butter Beans 

What They Do: Bring nutritious, balanced, kid-friendly lunches to private schools, charter schools, and summer camps in the tri-state area and host engaging cooking classes and education programs during the school year

How They Do It: Lunches by Butter Beans are prepared daily in the company’s 5,000-square-foot kitchen in Queens. The entrees (meat and vegetarian options), grains and vegetables, sandwich fixings and salad-bar staples are delivered by the Butter Beans transportation team in refrigerated vans to schools throughout the tri-state area. From there, school cafeteria attendants take over to heat up entree meals such as antibiotic-free chicken tikka masala or chickpea burgers, and serve them up to participating students. Costs vary between private and charter schools. Through their commissary kitchen model, Butter Beans is able to offer competitive pricing.

Mission: Butter Beans’ mission is to provide healthy food for bodies and minds through tasty, nutrient-rich lunches and fact-filled wellness initiatives.

Latest project/campaign: In addition to providing school lunches to students, the organization offers after-school cooking classes that help teach students how to make seasonal, international and nutritious meals in their own kitchens. The students explore local ingredients and discover cuisines from around the world. Butter Beans also operates canteens at cultural institutions like the New York Hall of Science and crafts meals for campers during the summer months.

Major Funding: Revenue from School Lunch and Food Services

Profit/nonprofit: Profit

Annual Revenue: N/A

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: School lunch programs can be expensive and challenging to set up, especially for smaller schools, which means that many full-service food providers do not work with smaller schools, leaving children with fewer healthy options. Butter Beans helps fill that gap by providing nutritious alternatives to buying lunches outside of school.


Location: Queens, New York
Core Programs: School lunches, cooking classes, corporate cafeteria services, and summer camp meals
Number of staff: 100+, including food service, kitchen, transportation, and management staff
Number of volunteers: N/A
Areas served: Tri-state area
Year Started: 2008
Director: Patrick Persons, CEO & Owner
Contact Information:

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