We’ve long admired the work of FoodCorps, the AmeriCorps-affiliated organization that places members in schools across the nation to help start gardens, teach nutrition and advocate for improved access to fresh and healthy food. And we’re not the only ones to fawn over the program: They received over 1,000 applicants for 50 slots in their first year (an acceptance rate lower than Yale), although co-founder and communications director Jerusha Klemperer emphasizes that acceptance doesn’t necessarily correlate with academic prowess or a conventionally impressive résumé. They encourage anyone interested in food and passionate about teaching to apply, and no college degree is required.
Starting in the fall of 2015, FoodCorps may be coming to the Big Apple. They’re waiting for AmeriCorps to confirm funding and a final number of members, but they’re hoping to place 10 service members around the city this year. Because FoodCorps always partners with local organizations to best address a community’s needs, they’ve selected Edible Schoolyard NYC to anchor the New York City chapter and identify placements for each member.
They’ll be focusing on parts of Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn and choosing Title 1 schools in neighborhoods identified as targets by the District Public Health Offices. Their hope is that FoodCorps members will be able to create sustainable programs that have a deep impact on each school and eventually work themselves out of the job. FoodCorps members often focus on developing and maintaining school gardens, and ESYNYC executive director Kate Brashares assured me that adapting the program to New York City will not force service members indoors: “You’d be amazed by how little space you need [to grow a garden],” she said.
Want to apply to be a FoodCorps member? Applications are due March 31 and you can learn more here. While accepted members are not guaranteed their first choice in placement, you can view their acceptance rates for each state and hedge your bets.