FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy.
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. FoodCorps (an AmeriCorps service program) places these leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service where they conduct hands-on food education, build and tend school gardens, and facilitate getting high-quality local food into public school cafeterias.
The program launched with 50 service members in ten states in 2011: Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. In 2012, FoodCorps will expand to Connecticut and Montana, and grow our class to 80 members and 12 Fellows. We’re adding new sites, states and service members, as funding allows.
Since the launch of our program 11 months ago, FoodCorps has already seen far-reaching results first-hand. Our service members have:
• Reached 51,194 children
• Facilitated 499 garden projects
• Donated 11,103 lbs of garden produce to needy kids and families
• Generated 1,748 new community volunteers
• Cultivated healthy food environments in 300 schools
Beyond the statistics, the stories our service members share with us are inspiring: farm fresh sweet potatoes on the menu, kids begging for kale, parents mystified by their children’s new veggie-centric proclivities.
Our FoodCorps service members each spend 1,700 hours apiece, working in public schools to connect kids to real food and to help them get healthy. They teach them what healthy food looks like, give them hands-on engagement with how it grows and tastes, and make it possible for them to eat it every day. We believe that when these three pieces are delivered together, kids begin to eat differently. The efforts of FoodCorps service members bring measurable results: gardens built, children educated, and healthy food access improved.
The seeds of FoodCorps were planted on Earth Day 2009, when President Obama signed the Kennedy Serve America Act. To the 6 of us it was an opportunity to engage AmeriCorps in addressing our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic, combining a national service program with Farm to School. We hoped to combat childhood obesity, while also training a new cohort of public health leaders. 2 years later, we launched FoodCorps.
Curt, Deb, Cecily and Jerusha (team members for this proposal) are 4 of the 6 co-founders. Deb led school food reform efforts as a Kellogg Food & Community Fellow and as Communications Director of the National Farm to School Network; Curt is the award winning Director of the film King Corn; Cecily Upton managed Youth Programs at Slow Food USA, launching the Slow Food on Campus program; Jerusha worked at Slow Food USA, leading campaigns such as their campaign to reform the Child Nutrition Act. We are deeply committed to reconnecting children with healthy food.