North Carolina State University, N.C. 4-H and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) will host six FoodCorps service members who will conduct nutrition education, build and tend school gardens, and expand farm to cafeteria sourcing of healthy food. FoodCorps members will serve in the following eight North Caroline counties: Brunswick, Gaston, Guilford, Moore, New Hanover, Wake, Warren and Wayne.
FoodCorps is a non-profit national service organization that seeks to reverse childhood obesity by increasing vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded $625,000 to support 50 AmeriCorps members who will serve 42 FoodCorps sites across the country. AmeriCorps public service program will recruit young leaders for a year of service in high-obesity, limited-resource communities of need.
North Carolina is one of 10 states to participate in the program. N.C. 4-H and CEFS are excited about their partnership in hosting the first troop of FoodCorps members in North Carolina, said Tes Thraves of CEFS.
“We have a committed team of people supporting this effort and plan to build a state program that will not only benefit the children and communities where FoodCorps members are placed, but also a program that will serve as a tool to help strengthen Farm to School work across the state,” Thraves said.
The FoodCorps volunteers will develop curriculum-based school gardening programs, provide hands-on nutrition education, help link farmers with school cafeterias and build capacity for similar initiatives statewide. In some locations, FoodCorps sites will be pared with chefs who will provide instruction on cooking and preparing meals.
North Carolina became part of the FoodCorps program last year, but these volunteers will be the first to work in the state. All volunteers will be trained in August and will come to North Carolina later that month to begin their assignments.
N.C. Cooperative Extension will host some of the FoodCorps volunteers, while local non-profits will host others. The counties that will receive volunteers, along with the names of the site coordinators, are listed below.
• Gaston County, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Julie Flowers
• Guilford County, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Peggie Lewis
• Moore County, Communities in Schools, Kathy Byron
• New Hanover and Brunswick counties, South Eastern North Carolina Food System, Jane Steigerwald
• Wake and Wayne counties, 4-H, Liz Driscoll, and CEFS, Tes Thraves
• Warren County, Working Landscapes, Carla Norwood, and UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Molly DeMarco
The N.C. 4-H is the youth development program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, involving adults and youth in all 100 counties and on the Qualla Boundary of the Cherokee Nation. Visit www.nc4h.org.
The Center for Environmental Farming Systems — a partnership N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) — develops and promotes food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunties. Visit www.cefs.ncsu.edu.