FoodCorp Program Accepting Applications
The national FoodCorps program is accepting applications from emerging food justice leaders for the 2017–2018 school year.
Service member positions are available on Hawai‘i and O‘ahu, as well as in communities in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
The organization seeks up to 225 men and women with a passion for serving their communities, a commitment to social justice, and an interest in jump-starting their careers.
FoodCorps connects children in limited-resource communities to healthy food in schools.
Selected service members will dedicate one year of full-time, paid public service in school food systems, teaching hands-on lessons in growing, cooking, and tasting food; collaborating with food service staff to steer students towards the healthiest options in the cafeteria; and working alongside school administrators and teachers to foster a school-wide culture of health.
FoodCorps provides valuable skills and training to service members who go through the program, setting them up for careers in school food, public health, and education. Benefits of AmeriCorps service include an $18,250 stipend, health care, training, and a $5,815 education award.
The Kohala Center, a Hawai‘i Island-based nonprofit organization, has served as the state partner for the FoodCorps program in Hawai‘i since 2013, providing resources and professional development support to service members, teachers, and school administrators at 24 schools on Hawai‘i Island, Moloka‘i, and O‘ahu.
“The lessons I have learned, the people I have met, and the direction this work has given me continue to amaze me,” said Stephanie Loui, a second-year FoodCorps member serving at three elementary schools on O‘ahu’s North Shore through the Hawai‘i Foundation. “When I finish FoodCorps, I will move on with experience in nonprofit programming, education, and farming. I will have an education grant to help me pursue further learning if I choose. But most of all, I will have invaluable experience under my belt and a foundation from which to grow.”
FoodCorps partners with community organizations and schools to address the root cause of childhood obesity and diet-related diseases: a lack of access and connection to healthy food.
In Hawai‘i roughly 85% of available food is imported from 2,300 miles away or more, and Pacific Islander children experience higher rates of diet-related diseases than their peers. Because America’s most vulnerable children consume a majority of their calories at school, FoodCorps seeks to improve children’s nutrition by expanding school garden programs; increasing procurement and consumption of fresh, locally grown food in schools; and conducting cooking lessons that incorporate fresh, healthy, and affordable ingredients.
In its first six years, FoodCorps has brought important progress to the schools it serves, demonstrating measurable change to children’s eating habits and helping the schools it partners with become healthier environments. Hundreds of its AmeriCorps service members have introduced new healthy recipes into cafeterias, built and taught in hundreds of school gardens from Hawai‘i to Maine, and engaged thousands of volunteers and parents in their efforts.
“What we feed our children in school––and what we teach them about food there––shapes their health and success over a lifetime,” said Curt Ellis, FoodCorps co-founder and chief executive officer. “By joining FoodCorps, service members have a chance to do something incredibly important: connect children in their communities to healthy food, and give them the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive.”
More information about the program and applications are available online here. The deadline to apply is March 15.