Our guiding mission is to connect kids with healthy food in schools as a way to prepare them to lead healthier lives and to reach their full potential. We realize that to fulfill our mission we need to go several steps beyond our work in schools and into the policy space. The following outlines current issues, how we address them, our impact, and our current priorities.

THE PROBLEM

  • Children who lack a quality diet are more likely to suffer from a variety of health problems that will hold them back throughout their lifetimes; they miss more days of school, score lower on tests, and advance less in their careers.
  • Type 2 diabetes, and other diet-related diseases take a disproportionate toll on members of our society who face other systemic barriers to wellness and social mobility.
  • Inequities in our country and shortcomings in our food system have resulted in countless children having insufficient opportunities to learn about, access, and benefit from healthy food.

 

HOW WE’RE HELPING

  • Hands-on learning: Students grow, cook, and taste new foods, which builds their skills and changes their food preferences.
  • Healthy school meals: The cafeteria experience steers students towards the healthiest options and gets them excited to try new healthy foods and school food leaders are empowered 
 to serve healthier, less-processed menu items.
  • Schoolwide culture of health: As a whole, the school community and environment—from hallways to classrooms to cafeteria to grounds—celebrates healthy food.

 

IMPACT

  • An external evaluation of our work by Columbia University found that schools where FoodCorps’ signature hands-on learning practices are happening to a high degree, students are eating triple the fruits and vegetables compared to peers in low-implementation schools.
  • Three in four of the schools we serve measurably improved the health of their school food environments over the course of the last school year.
  • Nearly two-thirds of students showed improved or sustained positive attitudes toward vegetables and/or tried new ones during the course of the year.

OUR APPROACH TO POLICY

Informed by the success we are seeing on the ground, FoodCorps seeks to drive multi-level policy change to support the institutionalization of healthy food environments across the nation’s 100,000 public schools, and will champion people power and community engagement as part of these solutions.  With a commitment to a non-partisan approach, FoodCorps champions evidence-based solutions that work for our nation’s rural communities as well as urban centers.

 Applying an Equity Lens

We affirm our commitment to policy solutions that are evidence-based but also place-based, culturally relevant, and adaptive to local contexts in their application. We also recognize that a child’s ability to enjoy a healthy diet intersects with a wide range of policies well beyond those articulated below. As such, FoodCorps will work in coalition and partnership with other organizations leading advocacy on these broader efforts when they support or further our goals.

And, when current events or issues arise that have an impact on the kids or communities we serve, particularly as it relates to our commitment to equity, we will determine how to most strategically use our voice to be an agent for change.

 

OUR PRIORITIES FOR 2018

As we release this in October 2018 and approach the final weeks of election season, the current Congress is largely wrapping up its legislative activity and turning to the campaign trail.  Congress will then operate in “lame duck” session after the election until a new Congress is sworn in with the start of the new calendar year.  Given that, only a couple of policy areas remain unresolved this year that are related to our mission.

Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program – Our top legislative priority for this year is continuing funding for the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program (FASLP).  As a direct result of FoodCorps’ advocacy, Congress created this competitive grant program in the 2014 farm bill to improve the health and nutrition of children by providing funding to organizations that deliver evidence-based, hands-on learning that integrates food, nutrition, and agriculture into lessons and activities in schools.  FoodCorps successfully advocated for its first infusion of funding for the 2018 federal fiscal year.  We are again asking Congress to provide funding for FY19.

We will also advocate for Congress to reauthorize the Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program via the farm bill reauthorization process and improve it such that the scale of grants awarded achieve maximum program impact.

A Healthy and Equitable Farm Bill – The farm bill is the major piece of federal legislation that governs how our nation’s food is produced, and therefore represents a tremendous opportunity to create a healthier, more equitable food system.  The current farm bill expired on September 30, 2018.  The House and Senate passed radically different versions of a new farm bill and are now working to reconcile those differences.

We will work with our partners in the sustainable agriculture, nutrition, and anti-hunger communities to advocate for a farm bill that ensures:

  • access to healthy food, especially for low-income families;
  • strengthens local/regional food systems that enhance rural economies; and
  • supports the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers.

Learn more about our specific priorities by reading our full policy platform.

 

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FoodCorps is a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Foodcorps staff and FoodCorps AmeriCorps members may not participate in advocacy or lobbying activities during work time charged to a Corporation for National and Community Service funded grant or while earning AmeriCorps service hours. No federal funds were used to prepare or distribute this content.