East Hawaii News

FoodCorps Recruiting Service Members for Local Initiatives

January 22, 2015, 11:41 AM HST
* Updated January 22, 11:46 AM
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FoodCorps, a national organization that addresses childhood obesity and food insecurity in underserved communities, is recruiting service members throughout Hawai’i who are passionate about teaching children about healthy food and where it comes from, as well as expanding hands-on nutrition education programs.

A partnership with AmeriCorps allows FoodCorps to recruit, train, and place emerging leaders, known to the organization as service members, into limited-resource communities for a year of service. At the current time, the national organization operates in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

In 2013, Hawai’i was added to the states that Food Corps serves, with The Kohala Center serving as the state’s host site.

FoodCorps is accepting applications throughout the country for the 2015-2016 academic year, with several openings in Hawai’i.

To qualify, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. Residents of Hawai’i are especially encouraged to apply.

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Service members dedicate 11 months of full-time public service in select public school, charter schools, and non-profit organizations, known as service sites. In return for their service, members receive a $17,500 stipend, basic health, vision, and dental insurance, potential student loan forbearance, and partial childcare reimbursements. Individuals who complete their 1,700 hours of service will receive a $5,730 education award, which may be used to pay tuition or repay qualified student loans.

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All service members receive two national trainings and mentoring from food system leaders, as well as local and online training on topics related to food, farming, nutrition, cooking, and public health.

The duties of a service member will include expanding the connection between hands-on learning and core curriculum. Service members works with teachers to integrate a series of food and nutrition activity lessons into classes as diverse as health, math, English, and science.

Foodcorps service members grow healthy food with students, teachers, and community members in school and community gardens, connecting children with their food and the ‘aina. Members also assist in building relationships between the island’s farms and local schools in an effort to increase children’s access to health food in school cafeterias.

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Ideal candidates are motivated to serve full-time in a limited resource community, and should have experience working or studying the food system, agriculture, public health, education, community organizing, or public service.

According to Nancy Redfeather, director of The Kohala Center’s Hawai’I Island School Garden Network, ideal Hawai’i candidates must “demonstrate an appreciation of local culture, values, and history; dedication and commitment to just and peaceful communities; a sense of kuleana to foster youth and community; the ability to engage community stakeholders toward positive action; and openness and willingness to create innovative practices around building food systems.”

Interested parties can find the application at the FoodCorps website. Those interested in learning more are invited to join a free webinar at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23 at this  website.

The application deadline for the 2015-2016 school year is March 31.

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