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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Santa Fe Youth Group Gets AmeriCorps Grant for Healthy Food Program, Seeks Matching Funds

Frustrated with high rates of child poverty, food insecurity, the growing threat of climate change and lack of services for youth, Earth Care, a local non-profit youth leadership organization, decided to create the Youth Food Cadre Program. The group formed the Santa Fe Food Project Coalition to support the Youth Food Cadre and engage with partners in a broader scope of work to build a local food system that meets the needs of youth, community, and the environment. They sought funding through AmeriCorps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Recently it was announced that Earth Care would receive a grant from AmeriCorps in the amount of $130,000.

Lt. Governor Diane D. Denish, who serves as Co-Chair of the New Mexico Commission on Community Volunteerism that administers the grant, said in a statement released by Earth Care: "Positive education about food -- what could be more important? Earth Care's Youth Food Cadre Program will not only get more healthful food to working families but will also teach young people the importance of high quality nutrition. This is a program that will have a tremendous impact on our future."

The goals of the Youth Food Cadre Program are to empower and engage vulnerable youth in developing good nutrition, healthy lifestyles and in solving personal, community and environmental issues in integrated ways. Specifically, the Youth Food Cadre will engage area youth ages 5-25 in the local food system through food and nutrition education, advocacy, youth-led community organizing, service learning, urban agriculture and social entrepreneurship, as well as job training and placements.

Christina Selby, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth Care explained that, "the increasing rates of childhood diabetes and obesity is an indicator of the overall health of our community. Our approach with this program is to support the positive development of young people in a way that also benefits the environment, local economy, and community. We look forward to bringing the natural innovation and problem solving skills of young people to bear on this challenge."

Seeking Matching Funds
Earth Care will need the help of the Santa Fe community to bring this program together. The grant requires a cash match of $70,000 to go forward. Each dollar invested as a match into this program will leverage double the funds, extend the services available to meet food security needs, and provide support for partners including Cooking with Kids, Santa Fe Alliance, Santa Fe Farmer's Market Institute, SF Food Policy Council, Santa Fe schools, SF Community College, and the City and County of Santa Fe.

The community is encouraged to help Earth Care reach this goal by making a donation to the "It Takes A Village Campaign" to help Earth Care secure the match to leverage the grant. Not only will it impact the youth involved, but also meet food needs in the Santa Fe community. This project is a demonstration of partnership and innovative practice that can become a model for communities all across the nation.

The community is asked to make a donation at www.earthcare.org or to call 505.983.6896 to find other ways to help with this project.

About Earth Care
Founded in 2001 by young people, Earth Care has been providing resources, training and support to youth and educational leaders through afterschool and in-school programming. The organization's mission is to educate and empower young people in creating healthy, just and sustainable communities. They believe that young people have the inherent capacity to solve problems and that through the empowerment of youth, sustainability is within the reach of all communities. They collaborate with those who share a commitment to youth voice, justice, and sustainable community development.They also produce the Sustainable Santa Fe Guide, which provides the Santa Fe community with resources for sustainable living.

July 24, 2010 at 11:22 AM in Food and Drink, Santa Fe, Youth | Permalink