New partnership with Edible Schoolyard NYC will help students get their hands dirty to learn healthy eating habits

New York, NY (September 8) — FoodCorps, a national service program that connects kids to healthy food in school, today announced a partnership with Edible Schoolyard NYC to bring the program to 20 New York City public schools. As a result of the partnership, students in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan will receive hands-on lessons in growing produce, creating healthy recipes and improving the quality of their schools’ lunch programs.

“FoodCorps is thrilled to be teaming up with Edible Schoolyard NYC and our network of community partners to connect New York’s children to healthy food,” said Chief Executive Officer Curt Ellis. “The talent, passion and energy our service members will bring into schools from Brooklyn to the Bronx will make big strides possible in reducing health disparities and ensuring that all our city’s children know what healthy food is, care about where it comes from, and eat it every day.”

Half of New York City’s 1.1 million elementary school children are obese or overweight, and one quarter lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. In conjunction with community partners Bronx Health Reach, the Bubble Foundation, Harlem Grown and Wellness in Schools, FoodCorps and Edible Schoolyard NYC will tackle these dual issues from the ground up by sending ten service members into 20 public schools in neighborhoods identified by the New York City Department of Health as having high rates of diet-related diseases.

We are thrilled to be the New York City host site for FoodCorps,” said Kate Brashares, Executive Director of Edible Schoolyard NYC. “This partnership comes at an opportune time for Edible Schoolyard NYC as we focus on expansion and scalability. Working with FoodCorps, we’re able to bring our work to thousands more children, tripling our reach this year. In addition, we’re building a tremendous network of like-minded organizations across the city, enabling us to build a model that can create broad impact.”

The service members will teach hands-on lessons about food and nutrition, build and tend school gardens, teach cooking lessons and help change what’s on lunch trays to give kids healthy food from local farms.

Since launching in 2010, FoodCorps has made a significant impact in urban, rural and suburban communities across the country. In 2014 alone, FoodCorps sent service members to 500 schools, planted more than 670 gardens and reached more than 180,000 students.

FoodCorps’ success and growth has attracted several corporate partners whose support made it possible to bring the program to New York City, including the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation; The Honest Company; and Rock the Lunch Box, a campaign created by Annie’s, Applegate, Rudi’s and Honest Kids.

“We are committed to helping kids have healthier eating options, in schools and beyond,” said Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s director of communications. “Our investment in FoodCorps will help them dig deep in New York City, making healthful food more accessible.”

FoodCorps is committed to having a lasting impact on the schools it serves and has crafted innovative tools to measure how schools’ food environments and students’ attitudes about healthy food and eating behaviors shift after service members begin working with them. This commitment to self-assessment will help FoodCorps immediately learn the challenges of serving the country’s largest school district and create long-term changes in the eating habits of the students.

“We believe in making it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their kids and encourage healthy behaviors from an early age,” said Christopher Gavigan, co-founder of The Honest Company. “By partnering with FoodCorps, we are giving parents one more form of support: nutrition education and healthy food access in early learning environments.”

The FoodCorps members serving in New York City bring a wide range of professional and personal experiences to their work, which will help them reach a variety of students and shape healthy, lifelong eating habits.

“I joined FoodCorps to help New York City’s kids experience the same eureka moment about food and nutrition I did when I was a sophomore in college,” said Jamisha Williams, a Bronx native who will be among the service members taking part in FoodCorps’ expansion into the city. “I thought I’d never give up my cheese puffs, deep fried foods or treasured midnight snacks. I only took a nutrition class because my roommate was horrified by my eating habits and bet me that just one class would change my attitude towards healthy eating. No one was more surprised than me when she was right.”

Williams’s bet with her roommate ultimately led her to study nutrition at the University of Vermont and become a nutrition intern at the Albert Einstein Medical College before joining FoodCorps and returning to her own community to help kids appreciate and enjoy healthy food as much as she does now.

FoodCorps service members will begin teaching at NYC schools this week and will remain with the program for one to two years. The service members will be at schools in neighborhoods including Brownsville, the South Bronx, Bushwick, Bed-Stuy and East Harlem.


About FoodCorps

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.