FoodCorps Co-Founder Selected for Leadership Role at The White House

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Debra Eschmeyer has been selected as Executive Director of the First Lady's Let’s Move! initiative, and as the President's Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition.

FoodCorps co-founder and Vice President of External Affairs Debra Eschmeyer has been selected as Executive Director of the First Lady's Let’s Move! initiative, and as the President's Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition. She is stepping into a role that was previously held by Sam Kass.

“We are so proud of what Debra helped launch here,” said FoodCorps CEO and co-founder Curt Ellis. “Deb will be dearly missed by all of us, but her selection for this post at the White House sends a powerful message about how important the work is that we are doing. Every child in America deserves healthy food in school, and FoodCorps and our partners are proud to help that vision take root, one community at a time.”

Eschmeyer was one of six co-founders of FoodCorps, a national AmeriCorps service program that places emerging leaders into schools in limited-resource communities for a year of public service where they teach hands-on lessons about food and nutrition; build and tend school gardens, and teach cooking lessons; and help change what’s on school lunch trays, giving kids healthy food from local farms.

In her role as Vice President of External Affairs, Eschmeyer helped build FoodCorps into a 182 member service corps that supports the National School Lunch Program’s healthier guidelines and lays the essential groundwork for children to build lasting relationships with healthy food.

“For more than a decade, Deb has been leading the way to teach kids about the importance of healthy eating,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.  “From classrooms and gardens to kitchens and farms, Deb has made learning about nutrition fun and accessible for kids across the country.”
 
The first four classes of FoodCorps service members have brought important progress to the schools they serve—from serving local carrots and beans in Arkansas cafeterias to getting New Mexico students excited about fresh spinach salad. They’ve built and revitalized hundreds of school gardens, and engaged thousands of volunteers and parents in their efforts. In addition, FoodCorps has provided valuable skills and training to the service members who go through the program, setting them up for careers in food, health and education. Alumni of the organization have moved on to work in school districts designing menus and sourcing local food, in schools and hospitals as garden educators and family wellness specialists, and in graduate schools as students of medicine, law, and food policy.

"I’m incredibly proud of the impact I’ve helped make possible at FoodCorps, and I am honored to continue serving the mission of a healthier generation. Over the coming years, I look forward to watching the powerful and measurable difference FoodCorps service members will make in creating healthier school food environments," Debra said.

Beginning January 9th, FoodCorps is recruiting its next class of service members for 16 states, Washington, D.C. and possibly New York City (pending funding). The application will be open through March 30th. For more information visit http://www.foodcorps.org.

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Jerusha Klemperer
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