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FoodCorps Partners with African American Mayors (AAMA) to Build Movement for Food Justice

Black leadership, excellence in food justice celebrated during African American mayors conference in Atlanta

ATLANTA, April 25, 2024—FoodCorps, a national justice organization working at the intersection of food and education systems, is joining forces with the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) at the organization’s 10th annual convening in Atlanta from April 24-27.

Like virtually every institution in America, the school food system has been impacted by systemic racism since its creation. In the early 1900s, school meals were used as a tool for assimilating previously enslaved Black, Indigenous, and migrating children to white American culture and foodways. Jim Crow-era policies and practices like redlining confined Black families to under-resourced, less wealthy neighborhoods, where property taxes were too low to properly fund public schools, let alone school kitchens.

FoodCorps’ collaboration with the AAMA seeks to engage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders in policy, business, education, agriculture, and philanthropy who play a significant role in the nonprofit’s Nourishing Futures initiative, a commitment to mobilizing 1 million people in support of the movement for food justice.

On the evening of April 25, Greenville, Mississippi Mayor Errick D. Simmons, a FoodCorps program partner and one of many Black leaders across the country addressing food access and food education at the local level, will become the first-ever recipient of FoodCorps’ Child Well-Being Champion Award.

“The city of Greenville sits in a region of the country historically riddled with poverty and food insecurity. The city has created fountains of access through strategic partnership with communities and across sectors to support child well-being. As a result, we are witnessing the positive impact of children, families, schools, government, business, faith-based, and philanthropic sectors coming together to move the needle on health equity by investing in education and prevention.

“This honor is a testament to the incredible spirit of collaboration, resiliency, and strength guiding our work for children and families here. This award helps us amplify the message that every one of us is and can be a part of making the world a better place, one child at a time, “ said Mayor Simmons.

Mayor Simmons will receive the Child Well-Being Champion Award at “Food Justice + Funk: A Celebration of Black Excellence.” The music-filled, soulful event will also honor the Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network (SAAFON) with FoodCorps’ Food Justice Trailblazer Award in recognition of the organization’s work across the Southeast to use agricultural, food, and land-based strategies to liberate and empower communities. Earlier that afternoon, AAMA Conference attendees will have the opportunity to join Mayor Tishaura O. Jones of St. Louis, Missouri, and FoodCorps’ President and Co-CEO, Dr. Robert S. Harvey, for a fireside chat titled “Nourishing Just Futures for Kids.”

In the pursuit of a nation where all children experience food, health, and education equity, African American mayors often work to impact the daily, lived realities and traumas of our nation’s children. It is our signal honor to walk alongside the AAMA, and to recognize the investment of Mayor Simmons and Greenville, given its local imprint on families and communities. With a commitment to seeing a nation where democracy in access to free, nourishing meals in schools is realized for more than 50 million public school students, I look forward to a strong and sustained partnership with Black mayors,” shared FoodCorps President and Co-CEO Robert S. Harvey.

For more information about FoodCorps, visit foodcorps.org.

For more information about “Food Justice + Funk: A Celebration of Black Excellence,” contact Amisha Harding at amisha.harding@foodcorps.org.

About FoodCorps
FoodCorps partners with schools and communities to nourish children’s health, education, and sense of belonging so that every child, in every school, experiences the joy and power of food. Our AmeriCorps members serve alongside educators and school nutrition leaders to provide children with nourishing meals, food education, and culturally affirming experiences with food that celebrate and nurture the whole child. Building on this direct service, FoodCorps advocates for policy change, grows networks, and develops leaders in service of every child’s health and well-being. Our goal is that by 2030, every child will have access to food education and nourishing food in school.