As soon as they’re accepted, new FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members spend a week at National Orientation, where they learn to teach kids how to cook and grow healthy food. A gathering of all 200+ service members, orientation is a place to meet peers and gain skills before they disperse to their sites across the nation. Throughout the year, FoodCorps offers regional gatherings and one-off trainings to dig deeper into education techniques, social justice methods, and peer support. Even after service, FoodCorps offers alumni opportunities to continue their education in related fields, such as policy and school food leadership. The Walmart Foundation supports FoodCorps in our commitment to offering high quality training that not only helps our service members become great hands-on educators, but also prepares them for success beyond their year of service. These three alumni credit FoodCorps trainings with supporting their current careers. Keep reading to learn how!
Kristi Silva, FoodCorps Alumna ’12
“It was difficult for me to believe that FoodCorps could provide more than one life-changing experience, yet there I was, prepping for visits on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. along with my fellow FoodCorps alumni. The FoodCorps Policy Institute gave me the tools to be a more effective advocate in my community and gave me an undeniable edge when interviewing for my current job working for a federal government agency. I’m the President of the Board of Directors for Farm to Table New Mexico, a statewide non-profit that houses the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council and work as a lobbyist during the State legislative session. Without a doubt, my time as a FoodCorps service member and experience with the FoodCorps Policy Institute has enabled me to be a more effective advocate and marketable professional.
The learning opportunities and conversations with fellow FoodCorps alumni who were people of color not only prompted a shift in my self-awareness, but the ‘aha moments’ brought an invaluable clarity to the equity lens that I apply to my life and work every day.
My mother always told me, ‘Knock on all the doors all the time,’ so when I saw the announcement for the first FoodCorps Alumni of Color Cohort, I jumped at the opportunity. To say the experience was transformative would be an understatement. The learning opportunities and conversations with fellow FoodCorps alumni who were people of color not only prompted a shift in my self-awareness, but the ‘aha moments’ brought an invaluable clarity to the equity lens that I apply to my life and work every day. My experience in the Alumni of Color Cohort lifted up the gift of my identity as a Hispanic woman and grounded me in my responsibility to serve others.”
— Kristi Silva, FoodCorps Alumna ‘12
Katherine Globerson, FoodCorps Alumna ’17
Last year, Katherine Globerson served with FoodCorps at local Portland site Growing Gardens. She credits the community building and training she received at FoodCorps with helping her earn her current role as the School Garden Coordinator at Springwater Environmental Sciences School, a public charter school in Oregon City. “FoodCorps gave me a direct entry point to the heart of the food system community here in Portland,” she says. “Their training opportunities connected me with over 200 like-minded people and helped me to develop a language for this work — and gave me the confidence to use it.”
Demetrius Fassas, FoodCorps Alumnus ’15
“After presenting to a room full of registered dietitians at Montana’s annual Food and Nutrition Summit, I had a thought: Two years of FoodCorps has done more for my career and my ability than two years of graduate school ever could have.
I was given the opportunity to talk for a full hour about a bit of agricultural history (yes, I pulled some ideas from King Corn, a documentary made by FoodCorps’ Co-Founder & CEO Curt Ellis) and the benefits of local sourcing, particularly for the healthcare industry. I spoke alongside people with lots of abbreviated credentials following their names and began to scratch my head about what qualified me to address such an audience. The answer I arrived at was experience, and it’s experience I would never have gotten without FoodCorps.
Two years of FoodCorps has done more for my career and my ability than two years of graduate school ever could have.
FoodCorps trainings taught me how to create learning opportunities from the simplest of moments, how to resolve conflicts when ideas and opinions begin to clash, and how to organize myself and my time to best suit the greater needs of my community. The opportunity to engage with my peers in FoodCorps surrounding my particular areas of interest was also invaluable. At Midyear Gathering, FoodCorps service members from across the West gather for a week of daylong trainings in topics related to our service. Through the “Engaging Your Community” workshop at the Midyear Gathering in Santa Cruz, I was able to dive deep into the community organizing skills necessary for serving in rural Montana and find support when I felt isolated serving in a community of 900 people. Today, as a local food program specialist, still working to create change in the school food environment, I find myself recalling these skills on a regular basis. Working with many individuals that hold a M.S., I don’t think I would have ever been qualified to hold my current career without these experiences from my FoodCorps service.”
— Demetrius Fassas, FoodCorps Alumnus ‘15
Want to read more about what FoodCorps alumni are doing now? Head over to our Alumni Stories page.