About Us

Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization in Washington, DC. Using food as a tool, Brainfood builds life skills and promotes healthy living in a fun and safe environment. Local high school students participate in our programs either twice a week after school or 4 days/week for five weeks during the summer.
Activities include hands-on cooking classes, lectures, field trips and community service projects. Brainfood graduates are equipped with practical cooking skills, an introduction to the food industry, a framework for nutritious eating, and leadership experience that prepares them to make a difference in their community.

What programs does Brainfood offer?

Brainfood Kitchen All Stars is a year-long program (September - May) that introduces participants to learning life skills and leadership skills through food and cooking.
Participants attend classes 2 days/week (Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday) from 4:00pm - 6:30pm. 
This program is offered at our Chinatown and Columbia Heights sites.

Brainfood Community MVPs is a year-long program (September - May) where past Brainfood graduates use their leadership skills to plan, facilitate, and deliver healthy cooking workshops to the DC community.
Participants attend classes 2 days/week (Tuesday & Thursday) from 4:00pm - 6:30pm.
This program is offered at our Mt. Vernon Square site only.

Brainfood Summer Institute is a five-week summer program based on the content for our Kitchen All Stars program.
Participants attend classes 4 days/week (Monday - Thursday) from 1:00pm - 3:30pm.
This program is offered at our Chinatown site only.

Brainfood Box Project gives Brainfood graduates the opportunity to showcase their cooking and leadership skills by running a seasonal summer CSA operation.                                                                                                                                                
This program is offered at our Mt. Vernon Square site only.

At Brainfood Homegrown, Brainfood graduates use their culinary talents and skills to produce top-quality, delicious, healthy snacks, that they then sell at our Brainfood Homegrown stand in Union Market, as well as at a growing number of distribution points throughout the city. Through Homegrown, D.C. youth are building professional skills with paid jobs, as well as connecting with the city’s growing food community. 

Where does Brainfood happen?

Brainfood has three sites in Columbia Heights, Chinatown, and Mt. Vernon Square

1525 Newton St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

755 8th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001

900 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Who are Brainfood participants?

Brainfood is a program for high school students who live or go to school in the District of Columbia.  Currently, Brainfood has enrolled participants from all 8 Wards in DC.

How do high school students join the program?

Before the start of the after school and summer programs, Brainfood staff visit DC high schools and community events to recruit students.  Students must fill out an application and attend a mandatory orientation before they are placed in a Brainfood program.  If you are a high school student who is interested in joining Brainfood OR if you are interested in having Brainfood staff recruit students at your high school, please contact Carina Gervacio at (202) 615-9250.

Do all Brainfood participants go on to work in the culinary industry?

No.  Though some participants are interested in culinary careers, the majority of Brainfood participants join Brainfood to learn cooking skills, meet new people, and have fun after school.