West End Village School

About Our Food Program

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What We serve...

At the West End Village School, we understand the challenges and hassle of packing daily lunches for young children. We developed our nutritious and delicious school food program to relieve families of this task so they may enjoy more free-time to spend together outside of school. We serve morning snacks and share a home-cooked family-style meal together for lunch. To us, food is more than simply fuel, and so we enjoy slow-paced meals, savoring this time for daily connection.

The West End Village School proudly partners with the Kitchen at Youth & Family Outreach, a high-quality, non-profit childcare center in downtown Portland, well-known for its robust and progressive food & nutrition program. Based on the meals he prepares for the nearly 60 children and teachers at YFO, Chef Dylan Roberts has collaborated with us to design a nutritionally-balanced, seasonally-focused menu that he prepares for us in YFO's newly renovated production kitchen. 

In addition to the delicious food provided by the YFO Kitchen, we serve raw fruits and veggies, and other local products found at the Portland farmer's markets and Portland Food Co-Op. We try to integrate culinary activities into our curriculum to further expose our students to the cooking process. Beginning this June, we will receive our very first CSA share from Harvest Tide Organics, a fantastic small farm located in Bowdoinham, ME.


Our Philosophy 

Local. Seasonal. Plant-Based.

Along with our partners at YFO, we know that high quality food comes from high-quality ingredients, so we work hard to support and build relationships with the many small farms across Maine who provide the bounty of foods we love to eat. We do this through both our school lunch and snack program, and through integrating explorations of Maine's agricultural landscape into our curriculum. 

YFO's Chef Dylan follows a Slow Foods approach to cooking, using whole, organic ingredients whenever possible. His menu highlights what is currently in-season in Maine, and so as the seasons change, so does the food he serves. Additionally, Chef Dylan works to expand the palates of our students by introducing culturally diverse dishes through recipes that highlight familiar ingredients and flavors, easing them into trying new foods.

Though we do include meat and dairy products in our menu, our food program is primarily plant-based and so we can easily accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. We believe that nutrient-dense plant foods belong at the heart of most meals. Our use of organic, locally-raised meat and dairy products is more sparse, used primarily to complement our meals rather than act as the main ingredients.


More About Our Partners

YFO Food Magic, a video short from P3 Maine.

The Kitchen at Youth & Family OUtreach

Youth & Family Outreach is a non-profit, NAYCE accredited childcare program in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland serving children 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten age since 1986. They have a rich and unwavering history of meeting the needs of Portland families from the very beginning, and that includes a firm commitment to early childhood nutrition and nutrition education. Like the West End Village School, their program integrates gardening and local agriculture into the curriculum, as well as culinary explorations through their acclaimed food program and the work of their beloved Chef Dylan. 

Currently, the YFO Kitchen sources at least 75% of their ingredients from local growers and producers, most of which are also organic. Through the Farm Fresh Connection, Chef Dylan proudly cooks with seasonally available produce, grains, beans, meat, poultry, eggs, and other products from the following farms:

  • White Oak Farm: Red beets, carrots, Red globe radishes, Strawberries

  • Michael Jaqumin: Chard, Cucumbers, garlic

  • Backyard Farms: Tomatoes

  • Streaked Mountain: Honey

  • Aurora Mills: Rolled oats and whole wheat flour

  • The Beanery: Red kidney beans, Black Turtle beans

  • Wealden Farms: Spinach, turnips

  • Maine-ly Poultry: Whole chicken

  • Maine Farms Brand: Ground beef

  • Bowden Egg Farm: Eggs