While these national movements have a large profile, there are also efforts here in D.C. that support healthy eating and healthy students. Here are three I learned about at Rooting DC, a one-day forum celebrating urban food production in the city.
- DC Greens is a non-profit group that supports food education, food access, and food policy initiatives at the local level. They work in D.C. schools to train teachers and create programs that support students and community members’ connection to local food. They address food access by supporting the implementation of a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program, operating their own farm and advocating for and educating the public on federal benefits to support farmers’ market purchases.
- SweetGreen is a national restaurant chain founded in D.C. that operates its SweetGreen in Schools program, which brings students into its restaurants to learn more about healthy food. The program was launched in 2010 and is now run in 14 different locations, reaching 3,000 students. The owners of the restaurant intend to expand the program in each community in which they have a store.
- FoodCorps is an AmeriCorps initiative that places service members in schools to teach students in gardens. The service members bring students into the garden to learn about the growing process along with math, science, and other content lessons. The program brought in its first group of volunteers in 2011 and is currently working with DC Greens in schools and SweetGreen in fundraising efforts.
Bill Winfrey is an associate with a public policy and advocacy firm in D.C. Reach him via email or Twitter.