Photo left to right: Shante Chaney, Leah Kelley, Miranda Watrous, Bang Tran, and not pictured, Summer Ladd
September starts our second year with FoodCorps serves members and we’re incredibly excited! Serving alongside educators and community leaders, our FoodCorps members partner with Project Learning Garden schools to help teachers bring their schools garden to life.
Get to know our FoodCorps 2016 members!
Project Learning Garden schools:
Garden Hills Elementary, APS
Humphries Elementary, APS
Feldwood Elementary/Pre K, Fulton
Shante has felt the urge to “do something” ever since she discovered some of the realities of our current food systems. Passionate about food and children, she feels as if she had no choice but to join FoodCorps. Shante is a self-taught yogi turned yoga teacher. Offered a teaching position, she was shocked because she did not consider herself an all star. Still, she accepted the position and rose to the challenge via extra studies and practice. She knew she was effective when the students turned into teachers, bringing their lessons back home with them. Shante is proud to have completed her Master Gardener Volunteer training and becoming a Level 1 Outdoor Classroom Specialist. She hopes to open her own nature preschool and a yoga facility where she is both teacher and student.
Understanding the struggle children face when lacking adequate nutrition or craving the junk food that advertisements surround them with, Leah is inspired by the success stories—cafeterias moving toward fresher recipes, a child discovering how delicious broccoli tastes fresh from the garden. She witnessed firsthand the value of gardens through her service with the Youth Service Corps program in Lansing, MI, where children contributed to improving healthy food access in their communities, building garden boxes, distributing fruit from area fruit trees, and maintaining a public edible garden. As a school gardening coordinator at World Hunger Relief Inc., Leah worked to continue her own education as she taught others, taking classes on topics as varied as soil microbiology and community organizing.
Food and education are Miranda’s two greatest passions. Studying anthropology in college, she has shaped her coursework around cultural and farming/gardening experiences. She has worked in schoolyard gardens at local elementary schools, and created an independent study that allowed her to work on an organic permaculture farm in Costa Rica for a month. For her thesis project, she embarked on a three-week research trip to a small Bahamian farming community, where she worked alongside a local woman business owner, community leader, and farmer. Miranda farmed with her each day and also recorded oral histories about her and her family’s subsistence strategies, an experience she describes as “challenging, humbling, and incredible.” After her service, Miranda hopes to continue traveling and learning, and eventually become an elementary school teacher.
Bang is back to serve a second year with FoodCorps after being inspired by his students last year. His most rewarding moment with them was in their cooking club, trying new vegetables, learning how to cook, and ultimately making a three course dinner for their parents at the end of the year with garden produce. Bang majored in environmental sciences and spent quite a bit of time in school working in a pollinator ecology lab. After realizing his interests were more in the field rather than in the lab, he started to explore what Atlanta had to offer in the local food scene. In ten years he sees himself in a trout stream with a pup by his side, or heading down a mountain on a bike, or in a noodle house slingin’ bowls of noodles just the way pop used to make.
Summer is returning to Georgia for her second year of service. Last year, through the Northeast Georgia Farm to School program, she created and implemented gardening and nutrition lesson plans that included building and maintaining school gardens, conducting taste tests, and facilitating teacher and staff trainings; she also ran summer camp and after-school programming. This year she heads to Atlanta to serve with the Captain Planet Foundation, which supports environmental stewardship through hands-on programming. Sumer has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communication from the University of Georgia, where she interned at a student-run organic farm called UGArden.