FoodCorps members to serve in Boston Public Schools to increase access to healthy meals
March 9, 2018
Building on Mayor Walsh's commitment to improve overall access to healthy food, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that FoodCorps members will serve in Boston Public Schools (BPS) in the 2018-2019 school year. Applications are available through March 15, 2018, for individuals with an interest in serving their community.
Beginning in August 2018, individuals selected for the Boston program will teach BPS students hands-on lessons in growing, cooking and tasting food; will collaborate with food service staff; and work alongside school administrators and teachers to foster a district-wide culture that increases access to healthy school meals.
"FoodCorps implements a model that engages communities and educates residents about fresh fruits and vegetables through hands-on lessons. This program creates a fun and healthy culture around food that will last long after they walk out of the classroom," said Mayor Walsh. "I am excited to witness the success of the new class of passionate FoodCorps public servants in their journey to provide every child with the opportunity for a healthy future."
As part of the Mayor's inauguration speech in January, he committed to scaling up the new food pilot program that's active at East Boston High School, the Kennedy School, the Bradley School, and East Boston Early Education Center, until every student gets at least two fresh, nutritious meals every day across the district.
Last July, BPS announced that Revolution Foods, a national school meal provider focused on transforming the way America eats by providing access to healthy, affordable meals to students and families, has been selected as the district's prepared breakfast and lunch provider through 2020. The FoodCorps members will support the work underway by Revolution Foods.
FoodCorps members will join the City of Boston with the goal of advancing the BOSFoodLove program. BOSFoodLove is a partnership between the BPS Food and Nutrition Services Department, Mayor's Office of Food Access, and Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, whose missions support Bostonians having access to the fresh and nutritious food they need and want. BOSFoodLove will improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables among BPS students through increased participation in and consumption of school meals.
The BOSFoodLove FoodCorps service members will serve the BOSFoodLove project by helping to build and convene a coalition of families and staff under the direction of the Office of Food Access. FoodCorps members will support implementation of student engagement activities that the Coalition members identify as ways to effectively increase participation in school meals among BPS students, such as schoolwide cooking demonstrations and contests, cafeteria taste tests, hands-on gardening and cooking lessons, and district-wide surveying of students and families.
"The FoodCorps program is an incredible opportunity for individuals to gain hands-on experience in understanding and addressing food insecurity," said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez. "The program provides opportunities for individuals to gain real world on the ground experience in addressing food insecurity, important professional development skills, and networking opportunities that will give rise to the next generation of strong leaders we need."
"It's exciting to see the community come together to expand access to healthy, delicious food for our students," said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. "When students are well-fed with nutritious meals, they learn better and have a fuller quality of life. What's unique about this program is that adults are talking to students to learn more about what's important to them when it comes to what they eat."
"What we feed our children in school--and what we teach them about food there--shapes their health and success over a lifetime. By joining FoodCorps, you will have a chance to do something incredibly important: connect children in your community to healthy food, and give them the opportunity to grow, learn and thrive," said Curt Ellis, FoodCorps co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.
Individuals interested in becoming FoodCorps members for the City of Boston should visit https://foodcorps.org/apply. FoodCorps selects individuals 18 years of age or older with a high school degree or GED to dedicate one year of full-time, paid public service. Applications must be submitted on or before March 15.
ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF FOOD ACCESS
Created by Mayor Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Food Access works to improve equitable access to nutritious food in order to foster a more food secure city with vibrant, inclusive food cultures, reflective of the diverse residents of the Boston.
Last summer, the Mayor's Office of Food Access, BPS and the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics piloted "Lunch on the Lawn," which served young people 18 or under lunch at City Hall during the summer months at no cost. Over 1000 meals were served at this site during its first summer. The Mayor's Office of Food Access also piloted a "Books and Bites" summer meals site with the Boston Public Library, Project Bread, and the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, and served over 2,000 meals at the Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library. During Mayor Walsh's inauguration address at the beginning of this year, he pledged to increase the scale of BPS's fresh food "Hub and Spoke" pilot program, which includes renovating school kitchen facilities as part of BuildBPS, Boston's $1 billion plan to upgrade schools across the district.
ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF NEW URBAN MECHANICS
As the City's civic research and development team, the New Urban Mechanics pilot experiments that aim to improve the quality of life for Boston's residents. The team's work around food access has included increasing student access to fresh salads; exploring weekend food access via schools; prototyping ways to increase low-income residents' access to fresh fruits and vegetables; and increasing the prevalence of summer meals sites located in municipal buildings.
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to create a nourishing environment for all students.