By Nicole Rasul, Forbes.com
The Urban School Food Alliance, a coalition of the nation’s 11 largest urban school districts, and FoodCorps, an AmeriCorps grantee organization that focuses on building healthy school food environments, announced this week a partnership between the two nonprofits. The formal agreement aims to impact the quality of meals in school cafeterias across the nation with the goal of improving student health and academic performance.
“The school food market is inefficient,” says Eric Goldstein, chairman of the Urban School Food Alliance and chief executive officer of School Support Services for the New York City Department of Education. “Getting organized around food is critical.”
In the FoodCorps model, AmeriCorps members commit to an 11-month term of nutrition education programming for schools in underserved American communities. Since the organization’s founding in 2011, the nonprofit has deployed nearly 1,000 AmeriCorps service members to upwards of 350 schools per year in 18 U.S. states and Washington D.C.
Small but mighty, FoodCorps programming has documented impact. In a recent interview, Curt Ellis, the co-founder and CEO of the organization, said that an independent study of the nonprofit found that kids at select schools served by the program were shown to eat three times the amount of fruits and vegetables while at school once FoodCorps entered their districts.