Child Nutrition

Our School Food Evolution

Great students run on great food — and Central Park is redefining what great school food means!

Here at Central Park, we are committed to equity and justice for all, from our students here in Durham to people around the globe.In order to sustain our commitment to holistic learning, we are embarking on a journey of delicious discovery to support student growth and success through a new approach to school food.

Our Vision

A school meal program that feeds students’ minds and bodies. We continue to strive to:

  • Develop and sustain a model nutrition program supporting our school's mission of nurturing and developing the whole child.
  • Offer healthful lunches with delicious, fresh, local foods to help all of our students gain the benefits of excellent nutrition.
  • Bring together students and staff around food, while learning more about what healthy foods look and taste like.

We are proud of the success of the lunch program over the last year. Our program was nationally recognized for its innovation and focus on whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, and freshly prepared entrees, with minimal processed foods. We were sponsored by The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and presented at the National Conference for the School Nutrition Association. More importantly the students enjoyed it! Last school year over 23,000 lunches were served. The school joined the National School Lunch program last year, allowing CPSC to receive close to $50,000 in reimbursement funds to help offset the cost to the school of providing student lunches.

We continue to benefit from a nutrition director with over 30 years of school food service, who oversees our programs and ensures that we maintain support for a triple bottom line: people (our students, staff, farmers, producers), planet (from Durham to the world), and budget (paying our chefs, catering staff, farmers, and producers equitably within the confines of USDA school meal reimbursement — yes, it can be done).

We’re again working with a local chef and caterer, Ashlyn Smith of Spicy Green Gourmet, utilizing delicious recipes that support student growth and protect the planet. Spicy Green is excited to provide us with delicious daily meals, including tasty vegetarian and hot lunch options.

We’re still supported by nutrition and research professionals to expand our commitment to good food at lunch and throughout the school day.

And we’re working with you, Central Park families, to make this happen. Thank you for your trust in serving your children! Questions? Contact our Nutrition Coordinator, Nadine Blake, at or 919-682-1200 x251.

How Can You Help?

Great school food is only possible if everyone participates. Regardless of individual families’ ability to pay, your child’s participation in school meals brings more money to the table — that’s more funds to purchase foods we believe in, more funds to pay nutrition staff fair wages, and more funds to offer expanded options and education to our future eaters and food system advocates.

Lunch & Milk Ordering

Lunch Ordering

Spicy Green Catering, including Chef Ashlyn and her team, will provide lunches for Central Park students again this year. We will again be using a unique, kid-approved menu, and have been working to refine our seasonal offerings for Central Park’s palate. Lunches will cost $4.00, or free / reduced at $0.40 per meal for those who qualify. A small 1% processing fee will be added for credit card payments.

Students will still get to pre-order to help the caterer estimate volume and reduce food waste; students will have at least two entree options every day, along with several vegetable and fruit side dishes. Spicy Green is committed to 100% whole-grain rich foods, no artificial food dyes, and locally sourced foods, including veggies, fruits, meats, eggs, and dairy, when feasible. No peanuts or pork will be used in our meals, and other allergies may be accommodated — see the contact information below.

Students will get to walk through and select from many choices on a beautiful serving line every day, and then return to their classrooms to enjoy their meal family style as we have been doing for years.

Ordering Details

  • Monthly menus will be available for viewing at least 1 week before the beginning of the month.
  • You can order lunches only on the days you need them.
  • You may cancel an order up until 7:30 AM the day of the delivery. You will receive a credit for any meals canceled.

Ordering Lunch ONLINE

School lunches must be pre-ordered through Access is even available through a smart phone. These instructions (Spanish) will help you set up accounts, login, and place orders. Returning families must update your student's school/grade/teacher. These updates can be done in the middle section of the main screen called "Modify Student information."

Ordering Lunch OFFLINE

If you prefer not to order online, but would still like to order a school lunch, please stop by either Front Desk, send an email to, or call 919-682-1200 x251.


  • Payments by credit card: can be made on the website, a small 1% transaction fee will be added for credit card payments
  • Payments by cash or check: please bring your payment by the front office at least three days ahead of your need to allow time for your account to be credited

*Allergy Notice

The caterer does not have a nut-free facility, however no nuts are in the food items offered other than the peanut butter sandwiches. Gluten-free alternatives are occasionally available; Items made with gluten-free ingredients do not guarantee to eliminate all traces of gluten.

Milk Ordering

Milk can be purchased separate from lunches. The price per day is $0.40 and students may again choose from 1% unflavored white milk or fat-free chocolate, with a vanilla soy alternative available upon special request (Spanish). This year’s milk program will be again managed with pre-orders since we do not have an automated cashiering system or a simple way for handling occasional milk purchases. With the per-day cost of $0.40 and 172 school days with lunch service, the total cost for the year is $0.40 x 172 days = $68.80. If needed, payments can be made semi-annually ($34.40) or quarterly ($17.20).

See the paper ordering form (Spanish) or the online ordering form for more information and to get signed up.

Free & Reduced Lunch

Central Park is again part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) this year. All families who believe they are eligible for free or reduced lunch benefits are encouraged to read the parent letter and complete the 2017-18 free and reduced application (Spanish). Paper applications can also be picked up at either school office. FAQs, income charts, and instructions are available as part of the parent letter. Additionally there is an optional portion of the form which allows you to indicate if you would like your approved status shared with other programs in order to receive additional benefits beyond free or reduced lunch prices (e.g. before school/after school discounts, food pantry assistance).

Questions, comments, concerns? Email or call 919-682-1200 x251.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

This page (Child Nutrition) last updated April 2, 2018