If you’re trying to grow healthy schools anywhere near Calaveras County, California, you know Kevin Hesser. The middle school teacher, his wife Autumn (also a teacher), and a local Master Gardener founded the nonprofit Gardens to Grow In in 2010 to show how schools in rural gold country can be centers of healthful, sustainable behavior. In 2013, they began acting as a service site for FoodCorps. Beyond providing hands-on food and garden education with the help of FoodCorps service members, Gardens to Grow In advances CHASSIS, a framework for developing healthy communities as school districts transition from the strict hold of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to the critical thinking opportunities of the Common Core. Bringing people together around healthy food and a healthy ecosystem, Hesser hopes that we can nurture communities filled with healthy, engaged citizens.
“We have really enjoyed being able to work with, mentor, and learn from our service members,” says Kevin. “Connecting with so many other like minded people involved in programs in our region, and all over the country has also been amazing! The FoodCorps partnership has been one of the best things that could have happened to our programs and has allowed us to accomplish things these past three years that would not have been possible.”