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Lake County Farm to School Recruiting New FoodCorps Service Member

Thursday, March 19, 2015

North Coast Opportunities - Clearlake

Join the Local Food Movement with North Coast Opportunities (NCO) in beautiful Lake County, CA!  Located in Northern California just two hours by car from the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento Valley, and the Pacific Coast, Lake County is home to Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California and possibly the oldest lake on the continent. Lake County boasts the cleanest air in the nation, spectacular scenic beauty, fine wines, delicious Lake County Mountain Pears, hand-crafted beers, and unsurpassed recreational opportunities — from hiking, biking, golf, and off-road adventures to boating, fishing, kayaking, birding, and even rockhounding.

Through NCO, you would be a key part of the Community Wellness Projects of NCOs’ Community Action Agency which facilitates the development of community and school gardens, farm to institution projects, a food hub throughout Lake and Mendocino counties, and a weekly food pantry in Clearlake.

We are seeking a motivated individual who wants to make a positive difference in the lives of students and increase the number and prosperity of local farmers as part of the Lake County Farm to School project. You will carry out a variety of activities to further encourage changes in school food cultures by building student interest in and enjoyment of the healthier local foods that their school cafeterias are offering. These activities will range from classroom- and garden-based nutrition education lessons to cafeteria taste testing. As the schools build and develop their capacity to use local produce, they will serve as replicable models for schools throughout the community and the county.

About 50% of your job will be teaching students about locally-grown specialty crops and the farmer who grew it, nutrition education, and offering taste demonstrations. The other portion of your job will be to make bridges and connections between school Food Service Directors and their Agriculture and/or Culinary departments, school gardens, etc. to utilize site-grown crops in school lunches, breakfasts, and snacks.

Modeled after NCO’s successful Farm2Fork program in Mendocino County, the Lake County Farm to School project aims to increase the capacity of both local farmers and food service professionals to get local, fresh, and healthy food from the field to the plate. Funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) through 2016, NCO will continue to seek funding to continue expanding farm to plate programs throughout Lake County.

While the administrative offices for NCO are based in Ukiah in neighboring Mendocino County, there also are offices in the cities of Clearlake and Lakeport. This position will be based in the City of Clearlake, population 15,000, where our office has an onsite garden and hosts a food pantry each week.

The population of Lake County is 64,000 with the majority of land designated as public (National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, State Parks, and County-owned) with Clear Lake in the middle. There are two incorporated cities (Clearlake and Lakeport); with Lakeport serving as the county seat. There are 10 traffic lights in the entire county.

The culture of Lake County varies greatly depending upon the residential area, but generally there is an Old West feel to several of the small towns (Middletown, Lower Lake, Upper Lake), artistically-minded Cobb Mountain area, business-like Lakeport, and a distinct culture of “Us vs. Them” in Clearlake.

Although surrounded by rolling vineyards, ample pear and walnut orchards, as well as rangeland, most school age children are unaware that Lake County is an agricultural area – and we want to change this.

Like many rural areas in the U.S., there is a high poverty rate and all schools currently have over 50% of students eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Having a FoodCorps member dedicated to this effort who will teach students the enjoyment of eating locally-grown specialty crops, assist the school food service directors to embrace and champion their growing farm to school programs, while helping NCO ensure that students, schools, and local farms continue to thrive.

 City/Town Name: Clearlake

Number of staff at service site: 8

Helpful languages: Spanish

Access to a car: Required

To Apply: Contact Terre Logsdon, Lake County Farm to School Coordinator at tlogsdon (at) ncoinc.org or (707) 994-4474, ext. 127 to let her know you’re applying to work in Lake County, then apply at:

https://foodcorps.org/become-a-service-member/apply-now

For your year of full-time service, you are eligible to receive the following benefits from FoodCorps: