TOCA is proud to be a host site for FoodCorps. FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. They do that by placing motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. Nationally, FoodCorps Service Members:
• Teach kids about what healthy food is and where it comes from
• Build and tend school gardens
• Bring high-quality local food into public school cafeterias
Here at TOCA, FoodCorps Service Members Julia Munson and Rebecca Cohen....
• Maintain and expand the garden at Indian Oasis Elementary School and Baboquivari Middle School.
• Develop programming and run monthly events for students, families, and community members at the Elementary School garden.
• Teach a gardening, cooking, culture, and health class to K-2 students in the Elementary School extended day program twice a week.
• Teach about growing food, cooking, and healthy eating in the culture classes at Baboquivari Middle School and FFA classes at Baboquivari High School.
• Work with other TOCA staff and school food services to increase the amounts of local and traditional foods available in school cafeterias and promote traditional foods through cafeteria tastings.
Julia Munson first learned about TOCA while spending time in Tucson learning about social and environmental justice in the U.S./Mexico borderlands. Due to her love for gardening, cooking, and eating, she was immediately drawn to the way TOCA approaches their work of creating a “healthy, sustainable and culturally vital community” through the lens of the food system. Julia believes in the power of food to bring communities together to affect change and in the ability of education to be a liberating force. She grew up growing vegetables alongside her parents and sister in rural Connecticut. Since then, she has taken care of herb gardens with summer campers while an assistant cook in Maine, made cauliflower soup with pre-K students in Tucson while interning in their classroom and garden, and worked on her high school’s new farm. She recently graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. She hopes to keep sharing stories, knowledge, food, and a passion for social change in community with others.
A recent transplant to the Southwest, Rebecca is very excited to be serving as a FoodCorps service member with TOCA. She grew up in a small town in upstate New York. Exposed early on to the challenges unique to rural areas, she became interested in sustainable agriculture as a tool of social and economic empowerment. In college, she studied environmental history and Native American history, and first visited the Nation to do research for her senior thesis on the history of traditional agriculture and foods on the reservation. Her favorite vegetable is the beet, but ha:l ma:mad has recently moved up to a close second.