Many of us in the farming world know exactly where our food comes from – we grow it, we raise it, and we buy it locally. However, much of our society has lost touch with the food they consume—where it comes from, how it is grown, even how it is cooked. With processed foods lining our supermarkets and conglomerates such as Coca-Cola and Kraft sitting on the boards of our nutrition organizations it is no wonder that childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States.
With nearly 50 percent of children of color expected to develop diabetes at some point in their life and food deserts blanketing what was once rightfully termed America’s breadbasket, our food system has clearly gone awry.
Across the country individuals are eager to make a change—to be a part of the movement that is decentralizing our industrial food system and rewiring the way we look at food. Becoming a farmer that celebrates sustainable practices and community outreach is an obvious option, but what about for the individuals who don’t necessarily have a green thumb?
FoodCorps is creating opportunities for young adults to engage in school gardening programs and farm to table non-profits. As a member of the AmeriCorps Service Network, FoodCorps is working to change the relationship that American youth have with food. By engaging children in the classroom, giving them hands on experience in school gardens, and nourishing them with fresh and local foods in cafeterias, FoodCorps works to reshape the role that food—namely fruits and vegetables—play in these kids lives. By joining forces with organizations such as North Carolina 4-H and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, FoodCorps is also helping to support small farmers and expand local food systems.
From small towns to big cities, FoodCorps is placing service members in 15 different states. Because individuals are assigned to work with successful established organizations, FoodCorps members are generally able to dive right in and make a positive impact on their new communities.
The program is still young, evolving, and growing. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that its impact is limited. However, the fact that such a program exists is a testament to the progress that has been made. FoodCorps may not be the sole solution to revolutionizing school lunch programs and supporting farm to table initiatives, but it is certainly a good step in the right direction.