How FoodCorps uses nature to nurture schoolkids’ skills

By C.W. Cameron for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There is no typical day, nor typical week, for FoodCorps service members in metro Atlanta.

You might find one in a school garden helping students plant kale, sugar snap peas or carrots. Another might be in a classroom making a layered bean dip and talking about the similarities between those layers and the layers in a garden. Or one could be teaching a lesson on the importance of compost or playing a game that helps bring home what it means to have limited access to food.

FoodCorps is part of AmeriCorps, the federal program for national and community service. Service members spend time in limited-resource schools, devoting 50 weeks a year of full-time, stipend-paid public service to help children understand what it means to grow, enjoy and share healthy food. Members generally give one to two years to the program.

This year, there are nine women serving in seven Georgia service sites, from Jackson County to Marietta City Schools and west to Carrollton.

After working as a farm aide in Texas, Suzie Pope came to FoodCorps with an understanding of the importance of farming, but no expectation that she’d want a career in garden education. Now she’s sold.