Perspective: Curt Ellis on FoodCorps

By WorldLink Staff | November 29, 2011 | Leave a Comment

How can we educate, inspire, and equip the next generation of food leaders? Curt Ellis discusses an innovative national service program called FoodCorps, and the important role young people play in transforming the food system from the ground up.

Curt Ellis is executive director of FoodCorps and founder of the Brooklyn-based documentary and advocacy company Wicked Delicate. He co-created the documentaries King Corn and Big River, and and served as a Food and Community Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Discover more perspectives on engaging youth in Bryant Terry’s Youth Leading Change and Alice Waters’ Edible Education.

What is FoodCorps?

Curt Ellis: FoodCorps is a nonprofit organization I started less than a year ago with six collaborators from across the food movement. What we’re trying to do is match a problem——the awful epidemic of childhood obesity——with a powerful solution: the wave of young leaders who are eager to get their hands dirty in careers in food and agriculture.

The centerpiece of our work is an AmeriCorps public service program——essentially a Teach for America for school food. Our first class of 50 twenty-somethings is in the field now, spending a year of paid public service in high-obesity, limited-resource schools. They’re teaching kids about healthy food and where it comes from, giving them hands-on opportunities to grow and cook and taste fresh vegetables through school gardens, and helping school cafeterias shift their supply chains to local farmers. They’re an incredibly inspiring group of people, and they’re making schools something they haven’t been in a long time: places where healthy food is celebrated and served.


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