Starting Young: FoodCorps Picks Up the Loose Ends in Nutritional Education

By: Dylan Rodgers

How are we supposed to know what a well-balanced diet looks like?  Given the recently spilled truth about some 'organic' crops, how are we supposed to figure out what's really healthy and what's not?  The USDA's food pyramid and now "My Plate" gives too rough of an idea of nutrition for Americans to intelligibly grasp.  Despite the menial efforts of organizations to deter our trip down the road of obesity, many Americans don't seem to be getting the picture.

The average American student receives roughly 5 hours of nutrition education in a year.  That's right, 5 hours.  With such little attention paid to nutrition, it is no wonder our country continues eating the way it does.  If nothing else, a strong understanding of nutrition and its value would be an important step to correcting this dietary confusion.

This is where FoodCorps has stepped in...

FoodCorps, an expansion of President Obama's AmeriCorps program, has been working since August this year to educate children on how to grow, harvest, and cook nutritious veggies and fruits.  And so far, many children are fully engaged.  FoodCorps has also been pushing schools to develop their lunch programs, eventually dropping the ever present French fry and pizza for the more beneficial fresh produce.

The beautiful thing about this education is that it doesn't stop at the nutritional surface; the economic impact on families and their nutrition is huge.  FoodCorps is teaching students about the alternatives to buying processed foods and expensive organic foods, a luxury simply out of reach for millions.  But seeing as how many of these students are from lower-income families, the knowledge of how to cultivate their own food could be quintessential skills in shifting the gears from good nutrition as an economic privilege to a skillful understanding.

FoodCorps efforts have already proved to have a multi-faceted impact on the biggest problem in America, and it is receiving a great response with 100 organizations in 38 states asking to help develop this program.  The real test will be whether FoodCorps can engage enough parents in the program along with their kids.  Too much education is left on the campus steps, forgotten until school is back in session.  If the parents and their kids find a new passion in nutrition through FoodCorps, America's obesity problem could be dealt with in literally a single generation.

Click here to learn more about FoodCorps and what you can do about America's nutrition.

Photo: majorsteel25

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