Model & Strategy
FoodCorps is a national service organization that provides a scalable response to America’s painful and costly epidemic of childhood obesity. Working under the direction of high-impact local partners, FoodCorps Service Members invest a year of full-time public service delivering nutrition education, cultivating school gardens and sourcing farm-fresh school meals for K-12 students in communities of need across the country.
FoodCorps offers a means for training a new generation of leaders in the fields of food, education and health, and a mechanism for building connections and capacity among the diverse organizations that advocate for a more just, healthful and sustainable food system. 1 in 5 FoodCorps alumni are hired by their school or service site for a long-term position.
Curt Ellis began working with the five other founders of FoodCorps in 2009. With colleagues Debra Eschmeyer, Cecily Upton, Crissie McMullan, Jerusha Klemperer and Ian Cheney, Curt led an 18-month planning process that engaged more than 10,000 stakeholders in developing the FoodCorps model. Rather than being designed from the top down, their school food solution emerged from the grassroots up: a national organization that local voices shaped according to their needs.
Curt’s passion for food and agriculture is rooted in his childhood in Oregon. He developed his interest at The Mountain School and Yale and then moved to Iowa to investigate the role of subsidized commodities in the American obesity epidemic. The film he co-created there, King Corn, won a George Foster Peabody Award, helped bring national press attention to the Farm Bill, and reached an audience of millions in theatres and on PBS. Curt also produced The Greening of Southie (Sundance Channel, 2008) and used his Food and Community Fellowship to launch the mobile school garden project, Truck Farm, and direct the sequel to King Corn, Big River (Discovery, 2010).
In the last school year, FoodCorps educated 161.818 children, added 440 new recipes or ingredients to school lunch menus, supported 426 school gardens, and engaged 6,685 community volunteers in improving school food.
More than 75% of FoodCorps schools had measurably healthier school food environments by the end of the school year, and in schools with more of FoodCorps’ hands-on learning activities, the children are eating three times as many fruits and vegetables.
After 10+ hours of hands-on classroom learning with a FoodCorps service member, 6 in 10 students will improve their attitude towards vegetables, try new ones, or maintain their high regard for them if they already liked them.
FoodCorps Featured in Fast Company for Their Success in Winning Over KidsFoodCorps was featured in Fast Company for their work winning over a pretty tough crowd, kids. FoodCorps sends young service members into schools in disadvantaged…Mar 2016
FoodCorps' Debra Eschmeyer Selected to Lead First Lady Michelle Obama's Food WorkDebra “Deb” Eschmeyer, a leading nutrition and local food advocate, has replaced Sam Kass as executive director of Let’s Move! and senior policy advisor for…Jan 2015