Michigan FoodCorps Continues for Second Year


FoodCorps member Robyn Wardell pointing at a worm with two students in Flint.  (view larger image)

FoodCorps member Robyn Wardell pointing at a worm with two students in Flint.

By Kaitlin Koch, FoodCorps Coordinator, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

The 2011-2012 school year marked the inaugural year of the FoodCorps program, and Michigan has been thrilled to be one of the states chosen to participate. Michigan’s host site, the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, welcomed six service members to four organizations throughout the state.  The members are creative, passionate people who bring mindfulness and many skills to their work. They are creating an impressive impact on Michigan’s food scene demonstrated by this collective snapshot of their 10 months of service: serving over 7,500 children, engaging 147 volunteers, building 8 new school gardens - including at least 4 hoop houses, and donating 117 pounds of produce. All the members strive to engage their communities in their planning efforts and actions. They hope to leave behind not only an impact, but a sustainable system.

FoodCorps member Kirsten Gerbatsch in Traverse City.

FoodCorps member Kirsten Gerbatsch in Traverse City.

The FoodCorps members are engaging the youth in their needy communities on all points of the food chain. A sampling of their activities include:  teaching many hours of innovative nutrition education, both in and out of the classroom; creating opportunities for youth to gain marketing and entrepreneurial experience by partnering with local organizations, and getting more local food in the bellies of students by working with the school food services to source more local fruit and vegetables. 

Next year Michigan’s FoodCorps program looks forward to continuing to partner with  existing sites: Michigan Land Use Institute in Traverse City, The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, The Crim Fitness Foundation in Flint, and Food System Economic Partnership in Ann Arbor. The program is also honored to welcome two new sites in Detroit: The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and the Center for School Health at Wayne State University. Michigan FoodCorps is lucky enough to have four  members returning for next year, who will be joined by three new members. Everyone is looking forward to continuing to work towards good food in Michigan through the 2012-2013 school year!