No Pickle Juice Necessary

Slices of a cucumber pickle float in a jar full of pickle juice

Dear Friend of FoodCorps,

Quick – what vegetable is a pickle? If you answered ‘cucumber,’ you’re smarter than a college student! Or, smarter than I was. I’ll never forget the day as a 20 year-old that I finally recognized those crunchy green spears I’d been pulling out of jars my whole life. Pickles taught me that food literacy is not a given—and gave me an appetite for working to change that.

Melissa TinlingI served two years with FoodCorps in Guilford County, North Carolina, which at the time was deemed the most food-insecure place in the nation. During my service I grew cucumbers and made pickles with students in the city of High Point. Our school gardens were like bright green flashes of laughter amongst blocks of empty factories and homes that had fallen on hard times, like so many of our American towns. But in the garden and kitchen, smiles abounded. The delight I saw as kids crunched into their healthy cucumber snack equaled my joy at introducing them to this new vegetable—and my pride at sending them home with bags of extra produce to supplement their family tables.

One afternoon after making pickles, one of my most enthusiastic garden helpers, Isis, spotted a cucumber we had missed on the vine. That day, she plucked that cucumber right off the vine and took a big bite – no pickle juice necessary.

Won’t you help students like Isis fall in love with healthy food? >>

I served because I truly believe in the power of hands-on food education to improve health outcomes, food literacy, and environmental attitudes in every community. I saw it with my own eyes through pickles and so many other similar experiences. Now I am a graduate student in Horticultural Science and Landscape Design at NC State University. Even on a student’s salary, I am committed to making monthly donations to FoodCorps because I still want to be a part of creating healthier futures.

I know my gift makes a big difference. Even a monthly gift of $10 is enough to buy ingredients for classes around the country to shake up a jar of spices and vinegar and “try things.” FoodCorps believes big things are possible. Even with modest means, I do too.

Thank you,

Melissa Tinling
Former FoodCorps service member and current monthly donor

P.S. Want to help make big things possible for Isis and other students like her? Become a monthly donor to FoodCorps today >>