FoodCorps in Local Schools Fight Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a major issue across the United States having more than tripled in the past 30 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.
FoodCorps recruits young adults for a yearlong term of public service in school food systems. This individual then works with the school to build Farm to School supply chains, expand food system and nutrition education programs, and build and tend school food gardens.
Kelly Macneil, FM 89, reported on the program in a handful of Arkansas schools. She interviewed Chris Hiryak who runs a greenhouse with the kids at Mabelvale Middle School in Little Rock. The school garden is now a year old and has provided the school with fresh tomatoes, salad greens, and other vegetables.
Debra Eschmeyer, national Farm-to-School network, is quoted as saying, “And the one thing I get repeatedly is ‘I love the idea of school gardens, and love the idea of farm-to-school, but our budgets are tight and we just don’t have the labor to pull it off. Now we have the answer: we’re creating FoodCorps.”
The ultimate goal of the FoodCorp project is to increase the health and prosperity of vulnerable children, while investing in the next generation of farmers.