FoodCorps, a brand new national service program funded by AmeriCorps and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, launched this week and is now seeking applications for its first class of service members to dedicate a year of their lives to school food programs to help combat the national obesity epidemic.
FoodCorps members will be paid to work for a year on a variety of projects like sourcing healthful local food for school cafeterias, expanding nutrition education programs, and building and tending school gardens.
“We’re on the lookout for hard-working young leaders who believe healthy food should be available to every child,” said Executive Director Curt Ellis, who co-created the documentary King Corn. “Being part of FoodCorps is a chance to make that vision a reality for kids in this country–and to have fun in the process.”
FoodCorps is seeking up to 80 young men and women with a passion for serving their country by building healthy communities. Beginning in August 2011, service members will “get their hands dirty” in one of 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina or Oregon.
“Schools–their classrooms, cafeterias, and playgrounds–are the logical frontlines in our nation’s response to childhood obesity,” said Debra Eschmeyer, FoodCorps Program Director. “More than 31 million children eat school food five days a week, receiving more than half their daily calories from school food programs. What we feed our children, and what we teach them about food, affects how they learn, how they grow and how long they will live. Considering that when last studied, only 2% of schoolchildren met the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the nation’s school food environments have significant need for improvement.”
According to FoodCorps, the states selected for the first year are “geographic, demographic and environmental hotbeds” of the obesity epidemic.
The program is partnering with Host Sites in the ten states identified above–Arizona (Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health), Arkansas (Arkansas Children’s Research Hospital), Iowa (National Center for Appropriate Technology), Maine (University of Maine Cooperative Extension), Massachusetts (The Food Project), Michigan (Michigan State University), Mississippi (Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity), New Mexico (University of New Mexico), North Carolina (North Carolina State University and North Carolina 4-H) and Oregon (Oregon Department of Agriculture)–a new national service program, FoodCorps, stands ready to bring significant assistance : a “troop surge” for healthy kids.
Applications and more information can be found at www.foodcorps.org.