FoodCorps Arkansas: A Day in the Life

Rachel Kraus, FoodCorps Arkansas member, serves at Bayyari Elementary in Springdale, Ark.
Rachel Kraus serves at Bayyari Elementary in Springdale, Ark.

Ever wonder just what a FoodCorps service member does all day? Read on to find out from FoodCorps Arkansas Service Member Rachel Kraus. And if you like what you read, consider applying to become a service member for the 2015-2016 school year. Visit https://foodcorps.org/become-a-service-member/apply-now for more information and to apply. Hurry! Applications are due March 31, 2015.

6:30 am: Hit the snooze button. My body is still surprisingly tired from working out with the faculty yesterday after school. Sore from a workout with teachers…what?

7:45 am: Arrive at my service site in time to say hi to the kids and the cafeteria staff as breakfast is passed out in the hallway and kids steal away to their classrooms. I promise a few of the kids I’ll take them to the garden during recess, and then I head to my office to get organized and check email.

8:15 am: Prep for some lessons I have with the kindergarteners this morning. I cut up and wash various fruits and veggies, including grapefruit, onions, and blueberries.

8:30 am: Teach three lessons on the senses. Using their sense of smell and touch, the kids figure out what kind of fruit or vegetable is in the bag and then at the end they get to taste them all. It’s great watching their faces as they try raw red onions, but it’s even better when some of them ask me for more.

10:30 am: Follow up with some emails to various farmers in the area. Along with the other FoodCorps service members in my district, I am trying to get quotes and availability so that we can establish a Harvest of the Month program at our schools.

11:30 am: Head to the cafeteria to check if the second graders have kept their promise. A few weeks ago, I showed them how to read a nutrition label on their milk and they decided regular milk was healthier than chocolate and strawberry because it had less sugar. They all made a promise to get regular milk the next day, and the next day they promised to get it the rest of the week. The latest promise is to get white milk until school is out (what-what!). I hang out for a while and do the “white milk!” cheer after insistent begging from the students. I swear these kids have stolen my heart.

12:00 pm: Grab the bucket of food scraps that the cafeteria staff collected for me. The goal is for the fourth graders to pick it up and dump it in the compost pile. I head to my office to eat lunch, check email, and finalize my lessons for tomorrow. We’re going to be growing mushrooms in some of the fifth grade classes.

1:10 pm: Snag the kids I talked to this morning who are on their way to recess and take them to the garden. We dump the food scraps from the cafeteria into the compost pile, pull weeds, snack on some spinach leaves, and compare the scents of rosemary, thyme, and spearmint. Then they race back to class lest they get in trouble for being late.

1:30 pm: Go back to my office to check email. FoodCorps potluck this weekend, SWEET!

2:00 pm: Print copies of a pesto recipe and start cutting up apples for after-school Garden and Cooking Club. I gather the cooking supplies we need for today’s lesson, then rush to the library to start checking kids in as they get out of class.

3:15 pm: Garden and Cooking Club starts. We head out to the garden to pick as much basil as possible in 20 minutes, and then come inside to make pesto. The kids run around to sell some to the teachers who are still in the building and save the rest to try on pasta. Yum!

4:30 pm: Garden and Cooking Club ends and I begin cleaning up with the rest of the volunteers. Whew, Garden Club is always a whirlwind.

5:00 pm: Head home after a long, fulfilling day. Perhaps I’ll go square dancing tonight…

This story originally appeared on the FoodCorps Arkansas blog.

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