FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 15, 2019
Director of Content & Communications
FoodCorps Announces New Board Members
Kendal Chavez, Carla Vernón, and Rachel Willis Bring Cross-Sector Experiences and Expertise in Equity to FoodCorps
New York, NY — FoodCorps, a nonprofit connecting kids to healthy food in school, announced today three new members of its Board of Directors. Kendal Chavez, Carla Vernón, and Rachel Willis have joined FoodCorps’ Board of Directors as of this month, bringing with them decades of experience in education, food services, and other key industries.
Kendal Chavez is Farm to School Specialist for the New Mexico Public Education Department. In partnership with rural, urban, and tribal school and school district entities, she works to deepen the impact of local purchasing programs in New Mexico schools through a people-first approach. Chavez is also an alumna of FoodCorps’ AmeriCorps service program, having served in New Mexico as a member of FoodCorps’ inaugural 2011 class and later as the state fellow.
Carla Vernón is President of the General Mills Natural & Organic Operating Unit, as well as President of Annie’s Homegrown, a longtime FoodCorps partner. She leads the company’s $1 billion portfolio of natural and organic food brands. Previously, Vernón restored growth to the $1 billion Nature Valley brand, resulting in the highest level of unit sales in the brand’s history. She is also a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Rachel Willis is CEO and Founder of Elevating Equity, an organization that supports education-based leaders in creating anti-racist, culturally responsive environments. In this capacity, Willis leads professional development workshops, conducts equity audits, and supports schools and organizations in creating culturally responsive curricula. She has also served as a trainer to incoming FoodCorps service members on issues of equity and cultural responsiveness.
“Drawing from their diverse experiences in the education sector, the farm to school movement, and the natural food industry, each of these three leaders brings important and new sets of experience to the FoodCorps Board,” said Curt Ellis, FoodCorps CEO and Co-Founder.
“More importantly, each of these women has demonstrated a strong commitment to equity leadership within their sectors,” Ellis said. “We welcome these visionary leaders to FoodCorps and look forward to working with them.”
FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school. Our AmeriCorps leaders serve in high-need schools across the country teaching hands-on lessons in growing, cooking and tasting healthy food; partnering with farmers and food service teams to create nutritious and delicious school meals; and collaborating with communities to inspire a schoolwide culture of health. Building on this foundation of direct impact, FoodCorps pursues systemic strategies that will benefit all of our nation’s 100,000 schools. To learn more about FoodCorps’ work across the country, visit foodcorps.org.