NEW YORK CITY — FoodCorps, a new national AmeriCorps school garden and Farm to School service program, announced the states and partners it will collaborate with to launch the initiative in 2011.
FoodCorps will serve vulnerable children, improving access to healthy, affordable food, while training young leaders for careers in food and agriculture.
In the spirit of service for healthier kids, FoodCorps will put 82 members on the ground in 10 states to work 139,400 hours during the 2011-2012 school year. Utilizing the public service model of AmeriCorps, FoodCorps leverages federal funds to place young adults in high-need communities, with the mission of improving children’s education about and access to healthy food.
FoodCorps service members will build and tend school gardens, conduct nutrition education, and increase the quality of the food served in the lunchroom.
FoodCorps also aims to grow the next generation of farmers and food systems professionals through hands-on experience. Service members will receive training and support from the FoodCorps national office, yet daily work will be directed by high-impact organizations working in their home communities.
In a competitive selection process, the FoodCorps planning team reviewed 108 host site proposals submitted from 39 states and the District of Columbia requesting 512 service members and partnering with 1240 groups. The ten selected host sites all possess proven records of success in improving the quality of school food, capacity to grow with FoodCorps across their region and compelling community need that service members will readily address.
The 2011-2012 FoodCorps host sites are: Arkansas: The Delta Garden Study at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute; Arizona: Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health; Iowa: National Center for Appropriate Technology; Massachusetts: The Food Project; Maine: University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Michigan: C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University; Mississippi: Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity; North Carolina: North Carolina 4-H and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems; New Mexico: Office of Community Learning and Public Service at the University of New Mexico; and Oregon: Oregon Department of Agriculture.
“These organizations all demonstrated a clear commitment to combating childhood obesity through hands-on Farm to School and school garden programs,” said Debra Eschmeyer, a FoodCorps founder. “Essentially a domestic Peace Corps, FoodCorps is now poised for a fruitful first year.”
For more information on FoodCorps and how to participate in the program, visit www.Food-Corps.org.