Archive for June, 2011
The Following is press release regarding the FoodCorps project, which will place six members with organizations here in Michigan. The FoodCorps members will support healthier food access for Michigan’s children through school gardens, Farm to School, education and other initiatives. It will be an exciting pilot year!
June 20, 2011
Contact: Colleen Matts, C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems
FOODCORPS ANNOUNCES AMERICORPS GRANT IN SERVICE OF HEALTHIER CHILDREN
MSU’s Mott Group to Host Six FoodCorps Members
NEW YORK CITY – The Corporation for National and Community Service has awarded FoodCorps $625,000 to support 50 AmeriCorps members serving at 42 sites in 10 states to increase vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. The first class of members will serve in Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon. Working under the direction of Michigan’s partner organization, the C.S. Mott Group forSustainable Food Systems (Mott Group) at Michigan State University, Michigan’s six FoodCorps members will conduct nutrition education, build and tend school gardens, and expand farm to cafeteria sourcing of healthy food at the Michigan Land Use Institute, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Food System Economic Partnership, and the Crim Fitness Foundation.
“We are eager to host the first cohort of Michigan FoodCorps members. After training in late August, the six members will report to their service sites in both urban and rural areas to dig in and get started,” said Colleen Matts, FoodCorps Supervisor with the Mott Group. “The work of Michigan’s FoodCorps members will contribute directly to meeting some of the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter. Building partnerships with local organizations and community members will be critical to the success of our members.”
This inaugural year as an AmeriCorps grantee will allow FoodCorps to apply a model of national service proven effective by Teach for America, City Year and Habitat for Humanity to the pressing problems of healthy food access, childhood obesity and diet-related disease. “Service through AmeriCorps is an essential part of the solution to many of the social challenges facing our nation,” said Curt Ellis, executive director of FoodCorps. “The program will at once serve families in need, improving access to healthy, affordable school meals, while also serving its AmeriCorps members: training a cadre of youngleaders for careers in public health, food, and agriculture.”
The current year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive. Organizations requested nearly twice the number of grant dollars and AmeriCorps positions that could be funded. “I congratulate this year’s grantees for rising to the top in a highly competitive year,” said John Gomperts, Director of AmeriCorps. “These organizations will increase their reach and impact on meeting local needs through the infusion of dedicated AmeriCorps members.” Nationally, AmeriCorps engages 80,000 Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet critical needs. Its members serve through more than 14,000 nonprofit and faith-based organizations in rural and urban communities throughout the nation.
FoodCorps is a nonprofit national service organization that seeks to reverse childhood obesity by increasing vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. The centerpiece of our work is an AmeriCorps public service program that recruits young leaders for a year of service in high-obesity, limited-resource communities of need. Service members build and tend school gardens, conduct hands-on nutrition education, and facilitate Farm to School programming that brings high quality local food into public schools. The program serves vulnerable children, improving access to healthy, affordable school meals, and trains a cadre of leaders for careers in food and agriculture. FoodCorps is made possible by the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), the Woodcock Foundation, the Claneil Foundation, the Wallace Genetic Foundation, and anonymous private donors. www.foodcorps.org .
AmeriCorps is a national service program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service that engages Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service to meet critical needs. Members tutor and mentor youth, expand health services, build affordable housing, run after-school programs, support veterans, help communities respond to disasters, and recruit and train volunteers. Interested individuals can learn about available opportunities and apply online by visiting AmeriCorps.gov.
ABOUT THE C.S. MOTT GROUP FOR SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS
The C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University engages communities in applied research and outreach to promote sustainable food systems with a goal to improve the access and availability of locally-produced food. www.mottgroup.msu.edu . The group led development of the Michigan Good Food Charter, with information available at www.michiganfood.org .
An interesting post on the University of Minnesota’s Youth Institute Blog calls for youth development organizations to invest in younger leaders. As the baby boom generation of youth development leaders retires over the next few years, and local and state governments are continually squeezed by deficits, programs and services for children could be impacted by a loss of leadership and support.
The Blog author, Ellen Gannett, co-chair of the Next Generation Youth Work Coalition, noticed a distinct “graying” of the youth development leadership community at a recent conference. She came to discover that part of the problem has been a lack of investment in and cultivation of young leaders in the non-profit world . To bridge this chasm involves more work on the boomer generation’s behalf to pass the torch to younger colleagues of Generation X and Y. But why not start engaging youth in leadership sooner? We need to encourage youth leadership within the very organizations youth are served by, especially those of disadvantaged backgrounds and of color.
This is true across the youth development field, but certainly resonates for youth community food programs. In the Michigan Good Food Charter’s Youth Engagement and Opportunity Report (2010), creating social entrepreneurship opportunities for youth was a key recommendation. Cultivating the next generation of leaders in Michigan’s Food System will require making space for young people to engage, learn, and develop. Apprenticeships, mentoring relationships, and workforce/entrepreneurial training were some of the strategies recommended to give youth a leg up into leadership and skilled status in Michigan’s “Good Food” system.
How are Michigan programs that engage young people in agriculture, community food and gardening blazing paths for leadership? Are we doing enough to empower young people to be leaders in our organizations? How can we do a better job of opening the door for youth leadership and developing young professionals and skilled workers to carry our missions into the future?
Anne E Casey Foundation (2005) “Up Next- Generation Change and the Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations“