East Hawaii News

FoodCorps Seeks Applicants to Serve Limited-Resource Communities

January 21, 2016, 11:02 AM HST
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pixabay vegetable gardenChildhood obesity and food insecurity in under-served communities in the focus of the nation-wide FoodCorps organization, which operates in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

Hawai’i was added to the roster of states served by the organization in 2013, with The Kohala Center serving as the state’s host site.

FoodCorps partners with AmeriCorps to recruit, train, and place emerging leaders into limited-resource communities for a year of service.

Several Hawai’i positions are being sought, as well as similar positions across the nation for the 2016-2017 academic year.

FoodCorps seeks service members who are passionate about teaching children what healthy food is, where it comes from, and expanding hands-on nutrition education programs

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Those applying should be 18-years-old and over by the start of service and hold a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.

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For FoodCorps positions in 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 (responsibility) 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,” said Nancy Redfeather, director of The Kohala Center’s Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network.

FoodCorps aims to expand the connection between hands-on learning and core curriculum. Service members work with teachers to integrate a series of food and nutrition activity lessons into classes as diverse as health, math, English, and science.

Growing healthy food with students, teachers, and community members in school and community gardens are some of the tasks involved that help children connect with food and the land.

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Service members also assist in building relationships between the islands’ farms and local schools in an effort to increase children’s access to healthy food in school cafeterias.

Those selected for the program must be motivated to serve full-time in a limited resource community and should have experience working with or studying food systems, agriculture, public health, education, community organizing, or public service.

The program runs for 11 months and includes full-time public service in select public schools, charter schools, and non-profit organizations. Service members will each receive a $17,500 stipend, basic health, vision, and dental insurance, potential student loan forbearance, and partial childcare reimbursements.

Service members who complete their 1,700 hours of service will also receive a $5,730 education award that can be used to pay tuition or repay qualified student loans.

Two national trainings, mentoring from food-system leaders, along with local and online training on topics related to food, farming, nutrition, cooking, and public health, will be provided for all service members.

The application and additional information can reviewed on the FoodCorps website. Applications for the 2016-2017 school year are due by March 31.

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