FoodCorps comes to Oregon

Food Hub of Oregon has just announced that Oregon has been selected as one of ten states to participate in a new national Farm to School and school garden service program that will place young adults in high-need communities to connect children with healthy food. 

The program is called FoodCorps. Patterned after the public service model of AmeriCorps, FoodCorps leverages federal funds to help its service members build and tend school gardens, conduct nutrition education, and increase the quality of food served in the cafeteria. FoodCorps, described as a domestic Peace Corps, aims to serve vulnerable children, improve their access to healthy and affordable food, and train the next generation of farmers and food systems professionals through hands-on experience. 

In a competitive selection process, the FoodCorps planning team reviewed 108 host site proposals submitted from 39 states and the District of Columbia. The ten selected host sites all have proven success in improving the quality of school food, capacity to grow with FoodCorps across their region, and compelling community need that service members will readily address. In Oregon, the program will be run through the Oregon Department of Agriculture. 

The ODA is the only state department of agriculture or state agency selected to pilot the program. Most other sites include academic institutions and non-profit organizations. 

“FoodCorps is one more tool for the Oregon Department of Agriculture to forward our work in procuring and promoting Oregon agricultural products in schools, supporting agricultural and environmental literacy, and cultivating agriprenuers,” says Michelle Markesteyn Ratcliffe, ODA’s Farm to School Program Manager. 

The first crop of five FoodCorps members in Oregon are expected to be in place by September 2011. Placements and details will be determined this coming spring. 

For more information, contact Michelle Markesteyn Ratcliffe at (503) 872-6600 or Food Hub    

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