11 FoodCorps Schools & Districts That Are “One in a Melon”

Congratulations are in order—FoodCorps school districts, schools, and partners won the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “One in a Melon” Award in 11 of our 18 states. With these awards, the USDA is honoring excellent efforts in farm to school. These schools are investing in local food purchasing, growing and integrating school gardens, and getting kids excited about eating healthy. FoodCorps AmeriCorps members and our service site partners have been serving many of these communities for years. They’re proud of what they’ve accomplished. Here’s why these school districts deserve recognition, straight from the service members who have spent the past year serving directly in them.

Arkansas: Sloan-Hendrix

“Sloan-Hendrix has worked hard to bring fresh produce into the cafeteria. The tunnel houses are full of squash, Swiss chard, two different kinds of lettuce, and all of the tomato plants. The students really like eating the fresh produce!”

—Ella Ellingson, FoodCorps Service Member,  Lawrence County Farm to School

California: Conejo Valley Unified School District

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“I think we do a remarkable job of connecting the cafeteria to all that we do — making sure that garden produce is seen in the cafeteria, classroom concepts are played out in the garden, and cafeteria produce is explored in the classroom. We reinforce this threefold connection, especially highlighting the cafeteria, as much as possible so that our students can really see the importance of healthy food in multiple ways. I think this makes our program more successful than if it were to let any of the pillars stand on their own because eating food is the only thing we can be certain these kids will do for their rest of their lives.” 

—Luisa Accorsi, FoodCorps Service Member, Conejo Valley Unified School District

Connecticut: New London School Lunch

Local Lunch Day

“The past few years in New London,  between the food service director, FoodCorps, and other various community partners, farm to school work has grown tremendously! Every school in the district is now connected to a school garden and every month features local produce on the school lunch menu from Connecticut farms.” 

—Lucy Lyman, FoodCorps Service Member, New London Public Schools

District of Columbia: District of Columbia Public Schools

“DCPS is committed to using local food in their meal programs by requiring food service management companies to meet a minimum percentage of local food in their meals. Many cafeterias support taste testing and events like Strawberries and Salad Greens Day, which celebrates seasonality and local producers! There are seven FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members supporting eight DC public schools to further the DCPS commitment throughout the school building and school garden!”

—Maddie Morales, FoodCorps Washington, D.C. Fellow, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)

Hawai’i: Kona Pacific Public Charter School

“Hawaii is making great strides in Farm to School, trying to bring foods that once grew in great abundance across the islands back onto the lunch trays in Hawai‘i’s schools. From convening the first statewide Farm to School conference in 2014, to passing a law to establish a statewide Farm to School program with a full-time coordinator in 2015, the public and political will is clear. Right now, schools are seeking to buy local through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program and a pilot to create a locally-sourced menus, as well as using school gardens for instruction in STEM, Hawaiian culture, and social-emotional learning.”

—Andrea Snow, FoodCorps Hawai’i fellow

Iowa: Oelwein Community School District

“The Oelwein Community Schools are using Farm to School programming to build a culture of wellness throughout the entire district.  Teachers, administrators, food service staffers, and community members serve on the school district’s Wellness Committee pursuing annual goals and policy changes in support of Farm to School programs for PreK-12th grade.  From FFA and after school clubs to the district’s garden committee and PTO, many individuals and organizations have joined forces to grow Farm to School with the mindset that ‘TOGETHER, we grow healthy kids’.” 

—Molly Schintler, FoodCorps Service Member, Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities

Massachusetts: Cambridge School Department

“Through my service at CitySprouts I’ve had the opportunity to work with Mellissa Honeywood (Food Service Director of Cambridge Public Schools) and Dawn Olcott (Cambridge Public Health Department). These two wonderful women are so inspiring and truly care about the food being served to students in Cambridge. Mellissa emphasizes sourcing from New England farms and providing healthy meal options, while Dawn conducts taste tests with cultural recipes developed by families and local community members. As a result, students feel so much more connected to the food that they eat and are will to try new things!”

—Rochelle Li, FoodCorps Service Member, CitySprouts

Mississippi: Tupelo Public Schools

The Tupelo Public School District has grown leaps and bounds in supporting and advocating for a strong and active Farm to School program. Through a healthy school initiative called Growing Healthy Waves community partners, volunteers, teachers, administrators, farmers and more have taken on the Farm to School initiative with passion and enthusiasm. With thriving gardens in the schools, regular taste tests, fresh & local produce served monthly, TPSD has worked tirelessly to keep students engaged and active as they work to bridge the disconnect our youth has with the food that keeps them alive and thriving. 

—Tylar Setser, FoodCorps Service Member, Tupelo Public Schools

Montana: Kalispell Public Schools

“Over the past five years with FoodCorps, Kalispell Public Schools has dramatically changed their school food program to increase local purchasing and scratch cooking. Currently, we spend about 30% of our food budget in Montana and 12% here in the Flathead Valley. We also have eight educational gardens in our district and last year we harvested over 600 pounds of produce that went directly into our Summer Feeding Program and school lunch and breakfast programs.”

—Whitney Pratt, FoodCorps Service Member, Kalispell School District

North Carolina: Cherokee Central School

“The wonderful strides that Cherokee Central School’s has made in their Farm to School programming can be directly traced to the wealth of passionate people here, dedicated to building the healthiest of possible futures for their children.  Our district purchased *14%* of its fresh produce from local sources this year!  This recognition goes to the facilities crew who helped with the expansion of the school garden, to the SND and cafeteria staff’s creativity in incorporating more fresh, local and traditional foods, to teachers’ enthusiasm and willingness to open their classrooms for food and nutrition education, and to the hard work our community partners put into creating culturally relevant farm and garden field trips for our students. ”

—Katie Rainwater, FoodCorps Service Member, Cherokee Choices

Oregon: Corvallis School District

“Corvallis School District supports local farmers by purchasing locally grown food and celebrating it in their cafeterias in such a seamless way that its hard to believe that not all school districts are like this. When you’ve got a whole school filled with teachers who are enthusiastic about having you come in to teach cooking lessons all year long, you know you’re involved in a pretty awesome farm to school program. “

—Tory Fingerle, FoodCorps Service Member, Corvallis Environmental Center

These aren’t the only school districts connecting local kids with local foods though! Find out what your local schools are doing by exploring the USDA Farm to School Census >>