First there was the Peace Corps, whose members travel to developing countries for two-year stints to teach English, set up small businesses, and help with irrigation systems. Then there was AmeriCorps, whose members performed service in communities much closer to home. And now, in keeping with our food-obsessed times, there is FoodCorps, a national service program that centers on, you guessed it: food. More specifically, the 50 new corps members will be helping improve nutrition education for kids, developing school gardening projects, and revamping cafeteria lunches. (And, just to keep things straight, it’s actually a subset of AmeriCorps.)
The participants are clustered in communities with high rates of childhood obesity and/or poor access to healthy food. And while Maryland isn’t represented, Baltimore plays a part in its own tangential way: one of the sites where FoodCorps will be working is the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health… which is in Arizona, not Maryland.
Still, if all goes well for this first batch of Corpsmembers, maybe we’ll be getting our own next year. Each participant gets only $15,000 a year, but still the program is undeniably popular: 1,230 people applied for the 50 spots, making it more competitive than Harvard. Not bad for the program’s first year.