1.5 years ago, FoodCorps started small, knowing that the best way to be sustainable was to build something that could grow, smartly, over time. Here is some news about our recent growth and new opportunities.
New Service Members
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Working through the AmeriCorps network, FoodCorps places these leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public servicein schools around the country teaching kids about healthy food and where it comes from; growing and tending school gardens; and working with food service teams to get high quality local food onto cafeteria trays.
After starting in the fall of 2011 with a class of 50, 2 weeks ago we opened the application process for up to 130 service members to start this fall. Each year we have been amazed at the caliber of people who apply to be a part of FoodCorps. They are smart, motivated, and above all committed to addressing the way we eat in this country, and the way we feed our children.
They come to us with a variety of experiences, from the classroom to the farm. They come to FoodCorps as community organizers, public health advocates, master gardeners, chefs, and doctors-in-training. During their year with FoodCorps they add new skills and titles like garden educator, taste-test leader, Farm to School mover and shaker, volunteer coordinator, tool-shlepper, cooking instructor….the list goes on.
Fellows, Edible Schoolyard Project
This past fall we added a new layer to our program: FoodCorps Fellows. They have quickly become essential and none of us are sure how the program ran without them. Fellows are standout graduates of the FoodCorps program who are invited back for an additional year, providing support, guidance, and mentorship to the service teams in their states.
This coming summer, all 15 FoodCorps Fellows will receive world-class training at a special weeklong Edible Schoolyard Academy grounded in Edible Schoolyard Project’s 17 years of experience with food-based learning in schools, and featuring a range of visiting experts. They will then go on to train the service members in their states, sharing this integrated approach to education in the garden, kitchen, lunchroom, and classroom. We are excited to connect our programs, and to help our Fellows learn from experts.
In addition, FoodCorps is excited to expand (pending funding) into three new states: Hawai’i, California and New Jersey. While service sites have not been finalized, the host sites for each state are CAFF/Life Lab (California); The Kohala Center (Hawai’i); Rutgers University Cooperative Extension (New Jersey). This would bring the total states that FoodCorps serves in to 15. We hope to keep growing every year!
*Warning: video contains adorable children