Service Member for FoodCorps., developed Sustainable Agriculture Program in Warren County, North Carolina
Warrenton, North Carolina
When I found out about FoodCorps, I was in Americorps Vista, which is a Volunteer and Service to America and I was the volunteer coordinator at a soup kitchen. We had started a garden with some community members to source the soup kitchen, and I was interested in working with kids in the community garden. I found out that FoodCorps was right down the street from me in Moore County, so I visited Moore County, Pinehurst, North Carolina, Southern Pines, and I visited a lot of the schools that they were working with there, and they were doing really great stuff. At the lesson that I observed, they were tasting North Carolina sweet potatoes, and they had done this whole informational campaign throughout the school where kids are making informational posters about nutrition, and they were trying them in the classroom, and they were learning about science. They were also locally sourcing sweet potatoes. Everything that I had wanted to get into, was pretty much FoodCorps, as well as everything that I had wanted as a kid, like I was always wondering about what should I be eating? Back then no one was really telling us, and so I always wanted a FoodCorps person at my school. So when I walked into that school in Moore County, and they were doing that exact thing, I knew that FoodCorps was for me.
What is the problem with school lunch in America today?
Kids are constantly bombarded with ads about junk food, and just constantly being marketed to by different junk food companies, all food that isnt very healthy for them.
What is the solution?
To get more kids interested in food and farming, they have to have experiences with food and farming. If you want to get a kid really interested in math, he or she has got to do something really cool in math, and its the same with farming. If you want a kid to think that growing tomatoes is awesome because its really awesome to grow a tomato and eat it, its delicious and its fun, and it makes you feel good; if you want to be into that, then you have to provide those experiences for them. I really think its as simple as that. If theres a way for us to give kids these opportunities regularly, then it will really pay off for not only their futures, but for our own.
What is your earliest food memory?
My first memory with food goes way back to the garden at my grandparents house in the mountains. My grandpa would be like, Oh, can you go out and pick the potatoes? and hed already pulled up all the plants so I had no idea where they were, it was like looking in the dirt for these potatoes. I was just like, God, how do people ever grow potatoes? Theyre just in the dirt magically. That kind of peaked my interest, that was pretty cool. I remember they also had blueberries, and they had snap beans, and we used to sit on the porch and snap the beans, and it was pretty fun.