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It's back to school for Oregon FoodCorps members
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As kids head back to school in Oregon, so does the second class of service members dedicated to such things as farm to school and school gardens:

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This special group of five is part of a nationwide effort to bring more healthy local foods into the schools and serve more kids. Oregon was one of 10 states to pilot the effort for the first time last year, according to Michelle Ratcliffe, farm to school coordinator with the Oregon Department of Agriculture:

RATCLIFFE:  “FoodCorps is starting its second year here in Oregon and we are thrilled. We are adding Union County to FoodCorps members already serving in Benton, Marion, Tillamook, and Multnomah counties.”  :10

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In addition, this year’s group includes a new fellowship position, housed at ODA, that will coordinate statewide efforts:

RATCLIFFE:  “The next class of  FoodCorps members are again going to focus specifically on farm to school and school gardens. They are going to build and tend school gardens, teach kids about nutrition and agriculture, and help schools source more local agricultural products. We really want to get more of Oregon agriculture on the school lunch line.”  :18

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Last year’s service members served more than 8-thousand students, generated more than 300 community volunteers, and helped raise almost 2,000 pounds of donated food. FoodCorps is building on the growing momentum of linking kids in school with nutritious local foods and healthy communities. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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RATCLIFFE says the overall objective of FoodCorps is to connect ag education and good local food with kids while providing an opportunity for local growers:

“It’s a win for everybody. It’s a win for Oregon’s food producers. It’s a win for our economy. It’s a win for kids– they are getting great, nutritious food. It’s a great connection for the communities because it brings people together.”  :14

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EMILY RITCHIE, a service member last year in Tillamook, is the first to be named a FoodCorps Fellow in Oregon, and will coordinate the efforts of the five statewide service members while working on a special project of her own:

“I can make a broader impact with the service members around the state as well as bringing in a boat to school program, where I can bring local seafood from the Oregon Coast into public schools around the state.”  :14

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