NEW YORK— FoodCorps today announced it will bring the work of School Food Focus into its existing operations connecting kids to healthy food in schools. This move boosts FoodCorps’ ability to support schools across the country in procuring more local, nutritious foods for their cafeterias, providing kids with access to healthier school meals.
“FoodCorps and School Food Focus share a vision: that every child in the United States, regardless of income, race, or geography, enjoys healthy school meals produced by a just food system,” said Cecily Upton, FoodCorps’ Co-Founder and Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships.
“We started School Food Focus with the simple idea that school food is a powerful lever of food systems change,” said Toni Liquori, School Food Focus’ Founder and Executive Director, who will provide senior-level support during the merger. “Working in 46 districts with over $600 million in purchasing power, Focus has begun to alter the school food landscape—improving access to healthier, sustainable and regionally produced foods for millions of low-income children. FoodCorps will expand that reach further than ever before.”
In 2018, School Food Focus and FoodCorps will begin a six-month strategic planning process with school district, food producer/supplier, and school food stakeholders to assess what districts need, the barriers to providing it, and how the newly expanded FoodCorps can best help them provide healthier, more sustainable school meals.
School Food Focus has improved the supply chain for healthier school food for nearly a decade. Today, six of the country’s largest poultry producers have adopted School Food Focus’ standards for cleaner chicken, which eliminate the overuse of medically important antibiotics, and provide for more transparency in food sourcing.
Their work has contributed to more than 100 healthy food products in the school food market, including “clean label”— free from artificial additives or ingredients—sliced turkey and more wholesome bean burritos.
Since launching in 2011, FoodCorps has become a leader in providing healthy school food education and activities that build lifelong habits of healthy eating.
FoodCorps now deploys 225 full-time AmeriCorps volunteers to 350 high-need schools in 17 states and Washington, D.C. FoodCorps members deliver hands-on cooking and gardening lessons to students, connect cafeterias with healthier food options, and bring teachers, parents, administrators and food service teams together to promote good health throughout schools. The organization also advocates for national, state and local policies that support good nutrition in service of strong minds and strong bodies.
FoodCorps and School Food Focus have each received support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create systemic change for school meals. “We’ve enthusiastically invested in both organizations, and are eager to see them working together to bring more nutritious food to more children, particularly in under-resourced communities,” said Linda Jo Doctor, a Program Officer from the Foundation.
“We’re proud that FoodCorps is standing on the shoulders of what we’ve accomplished with School Food Focus,” Liquori said. “Our work will not be complete until all of the 31 million children who rely on public school meals for their daily nutrition enjoy healthy meals produced by a sustainable and equitable food system.”
To learn more, please see our FAQs about the merger.
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Serving alongside educators and community leaders, FoodCorps members partner with schools to create a nourishing environment for all students.