Grantee News 

FoodCorps Service Members Provide Hands-On Organic Growing Experience for Kids 

June 5, 2015

What we feed our children, and what we teach them about food in school shapes how they learn and grow. With help from the UNFI Foundation, FoodCorps, a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders, is connecting kids to real food and helping them grow up healthy. These leaders, called service members, are in limited-resource communities for a year of public service where they teach hands-on lessons about food and nutrition; build and tend school gardens, and teach cooking lessons; and help change what's on lunch trays by giving kids healthy food from local farms. FoodCorps' 182 service members are serving in nearly 500 schools across 16 states and Washington, D.C.

The UNFI Foundation is supporting the work of four FoodCorps members serving at sites with a focus on organic food: Michelle Erhard in Maine, Ruth Lazenby in Connecticut, Roanna Cooper at Life Lab in California and Tasia Yamamura on MA’O Organic Farm in Hawai’i. To date, all four service members have been successfully implementing FoodCorps’ three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids: Knowledge, Engagement, and Access. So far this year, they have reached 3,318 kids through 900 hands-on food lessons and harvested 1,598 pounds of organic produce.

These four FoodCorps members have had a tremendous impact on the kids and communities they are serving. Their hands-on nutrition education lessons, engagement opportunities and local procurement efforts have begun to shift kids’ attitudes toward healthy eating and create healthy food environments. Their efforts are going a long way toward achieving FoodCorps' long-term goal of ensuring that all children, regardless of class, race, or geography, know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, an have access to eat it every day!

FoodCorps service member, Tasia Yamamura, teaching a lesson in the garden.