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DEI Report: 2022-2023

In pursuit of our 2030 goal—that every child has access to food education and nourishing, free school meals—we center students, communities, and local visions for just and equitable futures.

Students at Mar Vista Elementary in Oxnard, California, joyfully harvest vegetables from the school garden.


Welcome to the third edition of FoodCorps’ annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report, where we review the efforts we’ve made toward equity and justice in our work—and share how we’ll build on this progress in the future.

For a review of how we got here and a look at our organization’s history with DEI, we recommend revisiting our first report, published in 2021. This work at FoodCorps—a journey toward anti-racism—has had many heads, hearts, and hands guiding it. We remain grateful for the leadership of Tiffany McClain and Kenya Collins, both of whom contributed to where we are today.

The past year was an important one for FoodCorps’ equity work. It marked the first time our entire staff gathered in person since our 2019 retreat, a pivotal moment for confronting the history of inequity in our organization. The 2022-2023 school year also brought about our new identity as a justice organization, a new approach to anti-racism work, and new organizational values.

During times of transition, it’s particularly important for us to remain grounded in our shared commitment to DEI—not merely because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes us better at what we do. Our impact is greater, our vision is clearer, and our movement is more sustainable when we approach this work with justice as a call to heed, not a box to check. 

In this report, you’ll hear from our VP of People & Equity, Julia Arrington, about some big shifts we’ve made in our approach to equity work this year. You’ll read about our evolution from the Just FoodCorps Framework to FoodCorps Next, our strategy for setting ambitious anti-racism goals and measuring our progress toward them.

We’ll share how we’re investing in racial identity development for our staff, and offer stories about how DEI showed up in different avenues of our work this year. Finally, we’ll review the demographics of our staff, service corps, and Board of Directors, and invite you to join us in making our world one where all kids can grow and thrive. 

But as we’ve shared before, this report is just one snapshot of our round-the-clock work to become the type of organization we’d like to see in the world. We know we do not have all the answers, and neither can one report contain all of our efforts—and missteps—in our DEI journey. That’s why it remains critical for us to be as transparent as we can about this work all year long, and to hold ourselves accountable to our communities, our partners, and you.

Thank you for joining us, and for being a part of this work.

From the VP of People & Equity

Dear friends,

I am honored to write this message and share my appreciation for the progress we have made together. I am also excited about the work that lies ahead.

When I first joined FoodCorps in summer 2022, I was encouraged by the many practices, systems, and initiatives rooted in our DEI and anti-racism commitments. The SHIFTING framework, specifically, piqued my interest, and I was proud to join a team that routinely assessed our work through such a clear equity lens. The benefits offered were an indicator that there was a culture that cared about employee well-being and encouraged staff to tend to their humanity when needed.

I was at a point in my career and leadership journey where it had become crucial to my well-being to work at an organization whose actions aligned with their values and commitments. And while FoodCorps wasn’t perfect, it was evident that a number of steps had been taken to create a more inclusive and less oppressive working environment. This inspired me, especially in a society where DEI work has become somewhat trendy. It is important that organizations pair their commitments with actions that are tied to transformative outcomes.

Before I joined, there was great work done with the Just FoodCorps Framework. It was important to our team to continue and build on that progress in a meaningful way. There was, and still is, plenty of work to do at all levels of the lens of systemic oppression. We spent a great deal of time considering how to strategically elevate our response. Additionally, we were also very concerned about creating a workplace culture that is psychologically safe for all staff. This means that we all take ownership of our impact and question our assumptions about intent.

I believe that a commitment to resilience will lay the foundation for this work. Resilience is the capacity to adapt to change, learn from our mistakes, and bounce back from setbacks. It is important because it allows us to weather difficult times and continue moving forward. When an organization is committed to resilience, it builds trust and confidence among its community and can be counted on to deliver on its promises.

Resilience is something that we develop over time. By investing in our own resilience, we can better position ourselves to address the challenges of systemic oppression and create a more just and equitable world. Resilient organizations are clear about their goals and are always looking for ways to improve. They are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Their employees are adaptable and more equipped to both be proactive about and handle change.

We have done the work of being clear about our 2030 goal to eliminate injustice and exclusion in access to food education and nourishing school meals. We have also updated our organizational values to reflect who we want to be to our constituents and the communities we serve. Now, we are positioned to shift internally toward a culture of learning with a clear investment in the development of the adaptive and equity-centered leadership skills of our staff.

Each of the regions we serve has a unique story. As we continue to listen to those stories and the people behind them, we can continue the work of identifying inequities across the regions and recommending targeted ways to support them. One great example of this is our ongoing work toward recruiting a corps that is reflective of the lived experiences of the students we serve. This will be made possible with a focused outreach and recruitment strategy, complete with relationship-building pathways.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with this community, especially our programs team and service members, to contribute to building equity. I hope that you will join me on the road to resiliency and sustainability. To support our work, I ask that you consider ways in which you can grow your own resilience. I know that we can achieve our goals if we embrace the challenges of change together and stay committed to our organizational values.

With gratitude,

Julia Arrington Vice President of People & Equity
Julia Arrington, FoodCorps’ VP of People & Equity Julia Arrington, FoodCorps’ VP of People & Equity
Julia Arrington, FoodCorps’ VP of People & Equity Julia Arrington, FoodCorps’ VP of People & Equity

Our Year in DEI

Learn about our new values, staff feedback about our equity journey, and the highlights of our DEI work over the past year.

FoodCorps hosts its first in-person retreat for Black staff in FoodCorps’ Onyx Crown Collective.

The State of FoodCorps

Three years ago, we established a new way of tracking our progress toward becoming a more just organization. Developed by our former VP of Equity, Tiffany McClain, the Just FoodCorps Framework considered our efforts along a spectrum and invited staff to share how much progress they believed we could make in three years. See our first DEI report for more information about this tool. 

After meeting the majority of our Just FoodCorps goals, we’re phasing out the use of that framework to measure our progress. In its place we’re implementing our new organizational anti-racism strategy, which offers a new vision for where we need to go next (more on that later). Here are some insights about our progress from our most recent quarterly survey, completed in July 2023 by about 70% of our staff—just over half of whom identify as BIPOC.

Leaning Into Justice
  • 83% of staff (81% of BIPOC staff and 85% of white staff) believe we are making progress toward becoming a justice organization.
  • 86% of staff (84% of BIPOC staff and 88% of white staff) feel their manager is positioned to lead within a justice context.
  • 92% of staff (90% of BIPOC staff and 94% of white staff) feel justice is the right positioning for FoodCorps’ mission, vision, and values.
Anti-Racism in Action
  • 89% of staff (87% of BIPOC staff and 91% of white staff) believe we are making progress toward becoming an anti-racist organization.
  • 66% of staff (48% of BIPOC staff and 82% of white staff) say they have the tools to identify and address institutional racism in their workplace.
  • 68% of staff (61% of BIPOC staff and 74% of white staff) say they have the tools to identify and address structural racism in their workplace.
Inclusion and Belonging
  • 97% of staff (97% of BIPOC staff and 97% of white staff) say their manager/supervisor makes the effort to get to know them and what they uniquely bring to FoodCorps.
  • 78% of staff (87% of BIPOC staff and 71% of white staff) say they feel a sense of belonging at FoodCorps.
  • 46% of staff (65% of BIPOC staff and 29% of white staff) say FoodCorps’ organizational culture creates a climate where they are comfortable voicing their opinions.

Our New Values

After a review of our organizational values—including gathering staff input about how they should guide our work—we rolled out a new set of values rooted in equity and justice. Our old values were abstract and savioristic, whereas our new values reflect shifts both in the work we’re doing and how we’re doing it.

Next year, we’ll begin evaluating staff performance based on competencies (like transparency, accountability, and productive conflict) that relate directly to these values.


We are responsible for tending to our own humanity.

Why: We can do our most meaningful work when each of us is committed to accessing, feeding, and evolving our own worldviews.

How: We connect with our history, we own our flaws, we unearth our shame, we evolve our biases, and we deepen our understanding of ourselves.


Communities are woven of intentional relationships.

Why: Authentic and accountable communities can only be formed when we connect as complex, intersectional, flawed, and brilliant humans.  

How: We hold each other accountable with care. We get curious about each other. We celebrate diversity and build belonging. We embrace each others’ complexity.


Leadership and learning are inseparable.

Why: Effective leaders recognize that they don’t have all of the answers, create space for divergent perspectives, and see themselves and others as works in progress.

How: We invest in people’s development with love and limits. We seek out opportunities to learn and grow. We see everyone as having agency, responsibility, and opportunity.


We reimagine systems of power.

Why: Liberation can only be achieved when systems are built with justice at the center.

How: We shift power, access, and resources to those most impacted by systemic oppression. We dare to dream of a fundamentally different future.

A Justice Organization

In March, FoodCorps staff gathered in Atlanta for our first all-staff retreat since 2019. Here, we announced our new orientation as a justice organization working at the intersection of the food and education systems. 

What does that mean to us? As a justice organization, we seek to dismantle the systemic and structural barriers that preclude marginalized and oppressed individuals and groups from experiencing inclusion, belonging, and equity. We see the pursuit of justice as about individuals as much as it is about systems; justice aims to achieve sustainable and equitable access for future generations.

This new identity comes alongside our deeper investment in power building and movement building in our work with communities. Through power building, we’re getting more intentional in our efforts to develop and resource leaders in our issue space. And through movement building, we’re growing a broad network of support and action in service of our policy goals.

Cesar Cortes (CA ’17) and other FoodCorps alumni at a School Food Leadership Alumni Training in Berkeley, California.

Stories and Highlights

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    Spotlight on soul food

    Food education is at its best when it celebrates the foods students already know and love. Shay Brooks, a FoodCorps service member in Massachusetts, kept this idea close during her two years of service when she created lessons about traditional soul food dishes and their significance in American history. Shay developed dishes based on her family recipes for foods like candied yams, collard greens, and baked mac and cheese. Students taste-tested the dishes and learned about the history of food traditions of the African and Black diaspora, and some of the foods even found a permanent home on the school cafeteria menu. Several media outlets—including—covered Shay’s story, sharing the impact of her service with audiences nationwide. Learn more about how Shay embraced Black food traditions through her service.

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    A place for FOLCS

    This June, FOLCS (Food Operators and Leaders of Color in Schools), our network for BIPOC school food professionals, held its inaugural Kindred Gathering in Sacramento, California. More than a dozen participants convened to build connections, deepen relationships, and use the principles of liberatory design to dream up ideas for their work. Angela Gomez, a school nutrition coordinator with LunchAssist who attended the gathering, shared: “When I started out, I didn’t see any other BIPOC folks really represented in school nutrition. It was really affirming to see that it could be done and that there were other people that looked like me or thought like me in the school nutrition space, with as much passion for school nutrition as I had.” Learn more about the first FOLCS Kindred Gathering.

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    Growing relationships at staff retreat

    Marking our first all-staff retreat since 2019, nearly all of our staff members gathered in Atlanta this March to build relationships and develop a shared understanding of our new values and justice orientation. We connected over dynamic discussions about equity, trust, conflict, and infusing hope into our work—and began to develop a shared language around movement building and power building, two new lenses for our work. Members of our leadership team offered TED Talk-style stories about the personal journeys that brought them to equity and justice work, disrupting the white-dominant ideals of defensiveness and individualism in favor of vulnerability and collectivism. And we savored the opportunity to explore the Peach State’s rich culinary scene and historic sights, including the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Hammonds House Museum.

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    “This tastes like home”

    Every child deserves to feel a sense of belonging at school, including in the classroom, the garden, and the cafeteria—and food is part of that experience. After a widely successful taste test among students in Lewiston, Maine, Bariis Iskukaris—a traditional Somali rice dish—became the first culturally relevant meal added to the district menu. FoodCorps members Eliza Guion and Quinn Schach collaborated with partner Mumina Isse at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center to develop the hit recipe, prompting one student to share, “this tastes like home.” Lewiston is one of Maine’s most diverse areas and home to a large population of Somali families. The addition of Bariis Iskukaris to the menu marks a win for food as an invitation to make all students feel seen, heard, and welcomed.

FOLCS members gathered at the Kindred Gathering in Sacramento, California

What’s Ahead

Equity work isn’t a singular initiative at FoodCorps; it’s woven into the fabric of our organization, showing up in everything we do. Learn about our new anti-racism strategy and how it will guide the next chapter of our work.

FoodCorps hosts its first in-person retreat for Black staff in FoodCorps’ Onyx Crown Collective.

Graduating from the Just FoodCorps Framework

This year we decided to retire the Just FoodCorps Framework, a tool that has mapped our progress along a continuum from “asleep” to “awake” to “woke” to “just” over the last three years. (This tool is based on Equity in the Center’s “Awake to Woke to Work” framework.) Throughout that time, staff offered feedback about the areas where we most needed to grow and the progress they believed we could make.

We are certainly a more just organization than we were when we started this process, according to staff surveys from the past three years. Since then, we’ve made changes including:

  • Conducting a pay equity audit and increasing certain salaries to ensure fairness in pay
  • Implementing SHIFTING, a tool for incorporating equity checkpoints into project planning
  • Deepening our efforts to recruit a diverse pool of candidates—rooted in direct feedback from BIPOC staff—and train, resource, and retain them, eventually reaching a milestone where 50% of our staff, leadership, and Board of Directors identify as BIPOC
  • Adjusting our policies around paid holidays, paid time off, retirement planning, parental leave, and other benefits to make them more accessible and equitable
  • Increasing our service member stipends to the maximum allowable by AmeriCorps

The Just FoodCorps Framework sought to move us from a place of deep mistrust and harm toward repair, healing, and understanding the impacts of systemic racism on our organization. This framework motivated us to reflect on what needed to change, and helped us take personal and organizational responsibility for that change. And while tending to our humanity is still a crucial part of our work, we’re now bringing our efforts to the next level, focusing on greater action and accountability.

A New Phase: FoodCorps Next

Our new anti-racism strategy, which we call FoodCorps Next, aims to make FoodCorps an anti-racist justice organization that centers and reflects the students we work with. This strategy is grounded in movement building—mobilizing people and amplifying community voices in pursuit of collective liberation—and centers the principles of humanity, efficacy, and accountability.

We believe that FoodCorps will be fundamentally different if we take action in these ways:

Humanity: Cultivate Our People

 Our vision:

We will be a community of people who embrace their agency and organizational change with excitement and opportunity. We will see an increase in intrinsic motivation that will produce innovative, anti-racist, and equitable outcomes in support of our 2030 goal. Our staff, inclusive of race and role, will be positioned to engage in justice-centered work for the remainder of their lives.

 To get there, we will: 

  • Invest in professional development and equity leadership training programs for staff
  • Implement a core series of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging trainings and complementary literature and materials for staff
Accountability: Disrupt and Shift Our Systems

 Our vision:

We will be a community of people who experience a workplace culture that actively disrupts white supremacy culture and centers well-being. Our staff, inclusive of race and role, will understand, embrace, and act on the power they do and do not have to change and challenge systems.

 To get there, we will: 

  • Center intersectionality and address all forms of oppression that impact our staff and AmeriCorps service members, and revise our systems and practices to support those with marginalized identities
  • Translate our SHIFTING resource into a set of skills, tools, and rules of engagement that inform and build anti-racist policies and practices
  • Create a culture of emotional well-being through accountability processes rooted in repair and relationship building
Efficacy: Maximize Our Impact

 Our vision:

We will be a community of people who execute our work in a way that honors the communities we partner with, while maintaining fidelity to our values, vision, and mission. Our staff, inclusive of race and role, will deepen relationships with our partners and intentionally build new relationships. These partnerships will further empower students, families, schools, and communities to create environments in which every child knows the joy and power of food.

 To get there, we will: 

  • Ensure our staff and service corps mirror the students we work with through intentional recruitment of a more diverse candidate pool
  • Continue to acknowledge our founding roots in whiteness, and use our resources to grow the capacity of our BIPOC community partners
  • Rally a critical mass of BIPOC families and caregivers to amplify their visions for nourishing school meals and culturally responsive food education
  • Cultivate a supportive community where school nutrition professionals of color feel seen, heard, and valued, and create more pathways to leadership and career development for these professionals 
  • Systematically measure our progress toward becoming a fully inclusive, anti-racist organization

Measuring Our Impact

Rooted in the principles of liberatory design, we will measure our progress toward becoming a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable place to work and serve by reporting on a few priority metrics. Our goals for the end of the 2023-2024 school year include:

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    • 100% of staff will have mapped out their three-year learning blueprint for anti-racist leadership development (more on this below)
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    • 100% of FoodCorps VPs will act on at least three opportunities to internalize and operationalize SHIFTING in their work
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    • The number of BIPOC families we have activated—through tailored educational and action opportunities—will increase by 15%
In future years, we’ll also measure staff completion of core training, staff feedback about our organizational culture, and the diversity of our service corps and network of engaged families, among other metrics.
FoodCorps member Hannah Jo (NJ '23) shares a story about her service at the Northeast Mid-Year Gathering in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in January. Photo by Christian Hernandez.

Our People

Our people fuel our work. Here’s an overview of the staff, AmeriCorps members, and Board of Directors who make up FoodCorps—and how we invest in them.

FoodCorps hosts its first in-person retreat for Black staff in FoodCorps’ Onyx Crown Collective.

Anti-Racist Leadership Development

As part of our commitment to education and growth, we’re expanding our cohort coaching for staff to further their equity insights and their adaptive leadership skills. Additionally, as we shift internally toward a culture of learning, we will implement a core series of DEI and anti-racism training for our AmeriCorps members, site supervisors, and staff.

Beginning later this program year, all staff will embark on a three-year personal and professional development plan grounding their work at FoodCorps in anti-racism. This identity-oriented coaching is a core component of the “cultivate our people” arm of our anti-racism strategy, and will also include training and development for our service members. 

Staff will begin equity-centered professional development, activating them to dismantle white-dominant norms and hold one another accountable in order to move toward collective liberation. Our goal in these efforts is to decenter whiteness, create a culture of emotional safety, and support staff in advancing justice beyond their time with FoodCorps. 

Ultimately, we hope our staff and service members will see the role they play in a justice organization, and that they’ll feel supported and held accountable for developing knowledge, skills, and mindsets that foster anti-racism, emotional safety, and joy—in pursuit of collective liberation.

Employee Resource Groups and Affinity Spaces

Staff and service members are encouraged to join employee resource groups (ERGs) and affinity spaces to honor their intersectional identities and deepen their connections with their peers. These groups include BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and White Folks Working Toward Anti-Racism (WFWTAR) spaces; by next year, we hope to have a new ERG strategy in place, as well as data measuring the efficacy of these spaces. This year we also sunset our Equity Ambassadors program, pivoting our focus to investing in more full-time DEI staff and equity-centered coaching for more staff members. 


It’s important to us to maintain a staff and service corps that reflect the communities we serve. We continue to invest in increasing the diversity of the service member candidate pool, because we know it leaves a lasting impact on kids to have educators who look like them and share their experiences. Here’s how the people who make up FoodCorps describe themselves. 



Pie graph of staff gender identities
  •   Female (85)
  •   Male (13)
  •   Nonbinary (3)


Pie chart of staff ethnicities
  •   Asian (10)
  •   Black/African American (22)
  •   Hispanic or Latino (11)
  •   Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (1)
  •   White (48)
  •   Unknown/Did Not Share (3)
  •   Two or More Ethnicities (6)


Pie chart of staff LGBTQ+
  •   Yes (21)
  •   No (34)
  •   Prefer Not to Say (46)

Service Members 2022-2023


A pie chart showing members' gender identities
  •   Female (132)
  •   Male (19)
  •   Nonbinary (9)
  •   Prefer not to say/Prefer to self-describe (15)
  •   Agender (1)
  •   Transgender (1)


  •   American Indian/Alaskan Native (7)
  •   Arab American/Middle Eastern (2)
  •   Asian/Asian American (10)
  •   Black/African American (41)
  •   Indigenous (11)
  •   Latine/Latinx/Hispanic (33)
  •   Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (3)
  •   White (75)
  •   Two or More Ethnicities (36)
  •   Prefer Not to Say (2)


Pie chart of service member LGBTQ+
  •   Yes (52)
  •   No (84)
  •   Prefer Not To Say (15)

Board of Directors


Pie chart of Board of Directors gender identities
  •   Female (7)
  •   Male (7)


Pie chart of Board of Directors ethnicities
  •   Black/African American (4)
  •   Hispanic or Latino (3)
  •   Indigenous (1)
  •   White (6)

Note: We are working on ways to effectively request information about LGBTQ+ status of our Board and staff in the future. Service member ethnicity data also reflects members identifying within and across multiple categories. 

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Students at Carrollton Elementary School in Carrollton, Georgia participate in a garden lesson. Photo by Luke Beard.

Investing in Our 

Beginning in the 2023-2024 program year, FoodCorps will pay all service members a yearly stipend of $33,000—the maximum allowable by AmeriCorps—no matter where they live. Increased financial support from many of our philanthropic partners has allowed us to make this change, which enables us to recruit more diverse candidates, invest in communities that historically have less wealth due to redlining and disinvestment, and better connect with the children we serve.

By increasing living stipends, we can engage more corps members who have experienced systemic barriers to accumulating intergenerational wealth and, in that way, have more in common with their students. We also realize this stipend does not constitute a living wage in all of our communities, and are working to create more opportunities to support all our service members. Learn more about stipend increases.

A smiling student wearing a navy blue shirt holds up a freshly-harvested garlic clove to the camera.

Get Involved

This report is just one way we’re committing to centering equity in our work. If you feel moved to act, here’s what you can do next.

Organizations to Support

The following organizations and people have been instrumental in supporting us along our racial equity journey.

Nita Baum and Kelli Doss of b*free have served as EDI consultants to our executive team, providing coaching and support as we chart our equity work.

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) led the Undoing Racism trainings that provided foundational knowledge and skills for many of our staff. 

The Momentum Collaborative facilitated a formative 2019 staff retreat and provided thoughtful feedback and recommendations on our next moves.

Beth Zemsky provided early training around intercultural organizational development.

The Management Center provided management training focused on uplifting people of color in management and on anti-racist leadership for white managers.

The Transgender Training Institute (now Trans Affirming Training & Consulting) trained several of our staff in leading transgender and nonbinary inclusion workshops for staff and service members.

Elevating Equity, founded by Board Member Rachel Willis, provides foundational equity trainings for staff and service members.

Virgie Tovar provided transformative educational opportunities and held space for staff and service members in unlearning fatphobia and embracing body positivity.

Talila “TL” Lewis of Freedom Mapping Consulting offered a thoughtful and accessible training on ableism and disability justice.

A headshot of Tiffany McClain. Tiffany is wearing a grey shirt, black cardigan, and dark-rimmed glasses. Tiffany stands in front of a dark stone wall.

Tiffany McClain, our first-ever VP of Equity, created the SHIFTING framework—adapted from Equity in the Center’s “Awake to Woke to Work” framework—that supports our equity-centered project management approach. 

National Equity Project logo

The National Equity Project’s Liberatory Design framework has informed countless areas of our work, from how we evaluate our programs to how we facilitate gatherings.

Starsky Wilson headshot

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson of the Children’s Defense Fund offered an approach to movement building—rooted in the work of C.T. Vivian—that has informed our pivot to working as a justice organization.

Take Action

We’re grateful to our partners and communities for their support as we move toward becoming an organization that is truly just and equitable for all. We hope you’ll continue to follow along with us as we deepen our learnings and put our values into action, and we encourage you to do the same. 

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    Reach out.

    Drop us a line at to share your thoughts, comments, or questions about our work.

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    Learn more.

    Visit our Equity & Inclusion page to learn more about our DEI efforts.

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    Share our resources.

    Visit The Skillet, our home for news, stories, and resources, to find educational materials you can bring to your school or community.

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    Join the corps.

    Be a champion for equity in your community through food education and nourishing meals. Learn more about service with FoodCorps and join our email list to be notified of key application dates.

A service member participates in an activity at this year’s Midwest-Southern Mid-Year Gathering conference.