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FoodCorps Seeks Volunteers

FoodCorps News Release

The national FoodCorps is recruiting service members throughout Hawai‘i who are passionate about healthy food, farms and kids to help connect our keiki to real food and help them grow up healthy. Sust `aina ble Molokai, the grassroots community organization that educates keiki to bring back Molokai’s legacy of `aina momona, will be a service site for two members.

FoodCorps, a national organization addressing childhood obesity and food insecurity in underserved communities, operates in 12 states and will add Hawai`i, California and New Jersey this year. The Kohala Center will be the Hawai`i host site.


Students from Pūnana Leo o Hilo Preschool in Kea‘au prepare their school garden for planting.
Photo contributed by the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network.

FoodCorps is accepting applications for its third class of service members and is seeking to hire ten service members in Hawai‘i. Applicants must be 18 years or older by the start of service and hold a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. Applications are due March 24. More information and an online application are available at http://foodcorps.org/become-a-service-member.

“Ideal  FoodCorps Candidates will demonstrate a commitment to Molokai’s legacy of ‘aina momona and cultural values ,  a sense of  kuleana  to work with  children and youth  dedication to building just and peaceful communities, the desire to engage and community stakeholders and advocate for positive change with in  food systems and, finally, the ability  and willingnesss to  think ‘outside of the box’ to create  innovative solutions for  food systems and  food security on Molokai” said  Emillia Noordhoek FoodCorps site supervisor for Sust ‘aina ble Molokai.

Selected service members will dedicate one year of full-time (35.5 hours per week) public service in school food systems, where they will expand hands-on nutrition education programs, build and tend school gardens, and help bring high-quality, locally produced foods into schools. They will receive a $15,000 living allowance, basic health, vision and dental insurance, potential student loan forbearance, and partial childcare reimbursements. Those who complete their 1,700 hours of service receive a $5,500 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award, which can be used to pay tuition or repay qualified student loans. All service members receive two national trainings, mentoring from food system leaders, as well as local and online training on topics related to food, farming, nutrition, cooking and public health.

“Each site and community in Hawai‘i is unique, but there are common qualities we will be looking for in each of the local applicants,” said Nancy Redfeather, project director of The Kohala Center’s Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network, who will serve as director of Hawai‘i’s FoodCorps program. “Ideal FoodCorps candidates will demonstrate an appreciation of local culture, values, and history; dedication and commitment to just and peaceful communities; a sense of kuleana  [responsibility] to foster youth and community; the ability to engage community stakeholders toward positive action; and openness and willingness to create innovative practices around building food systems.”

With one in four children struggling with hunger and one in three obese or overweight, FoodCorps addresses the root cause of both: access to healthy food. FoodCorps has expanded its reach and grown its ranks every year since its inception in 2010.

The 2012 Hawai‘i School Garden Survey found that school gardens were sprouting in communities all over the state. A total of 168 schools now have school garden programs, with 21,577 students and 830 teachers maintaining gardens on nearly 30 acres of land.

The ten FoodCorps service sites selected in Hawai‘i include MA‘O Organic Farms on O‘ahu, as well as schools affiliated with the Kaua‘i School Garden Network through Mālama Kauaʻi, the Moloka‘i School Garden Network through Sustainable Moloka‘i, and the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network through The Kohala Center. All service site organizations are members of the Hawai‘i Farm to School and School Garden Hui, a statewide coalition of school garden networks and organizations. The hui collaborates with government agencies, businesses, and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa master gardeners to build capacity, create professional development opportunities, recommend policy, engage in advocacy, and research and evaluate programs.

Funding for FoodCorps is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, AmeriCorps and a diverse array of private and public donors.


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