Food Shuttle Welcomes 2018-2019 AmeriCorps Members

The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is excited to have two new Food Corps AmeriCorps members, Nathalie Kauz and Annie Kersting, and a new Share Our Strength AmeriCorps member, Caity Ashley, join the Food Shuttle staff for one year. These three service members will allow the Food Shuttle to expand our educational programs.

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FoodCorps connects kids to healthy food in school, so they can lead healthier lives and reach their full potential. AmeriCorps leaders deliver the FoodCorps program in high-need schools, focusing on hands-on lessons, healthy school meals, and a schoolwide culture of health.

Hear from our new Americorps on what brought them to the Food Shuttle:

Nathalie Kauz, FoodCorps Member

 Nathalie preparing for a workday with students at the RN Harris school garden.

Nathalie preparing for a workday with students at the RN Harris school garden.

I’m interested in community organizing and empowering people to take ownership over their physical space, which is why I am excited to work with the Food Shuttle’s Urban Agriculture Education programs. Garden education in schools is important to teach youth to have more power over their reality, more power over their own environment and their health. Skills I’m already learning in this position reach beyond the school gardens and can be translated to many things, from social justice to urban planning.

Half of my family lives in Switzerland, while the other half lives in Ecuador. And, I have lived most of my life in different parts of the U.S. It has been incredible to grow up comparing food cultures, city infrastructures, and political arenas. I am a Blue Devil with a degree in public policy studies and am considering a graduate degree in urban planning after my service here in Durham. I also love to play capoeira and simply relax with friends and family.

Annie Kresting, FoodCorps Member

 Annie building garden beds at a school garden.

Annie building garden beds at a school garden.

The Food Shuttle’s holistic approach to food scarcity issues and the diversity of their programs is a big reason I wanted to be one of their FoodCorps members. I am very excited about my work in the school gardens, teaching garden-based nutrition classes to grade 3-5 because outdoor learning activities can give students that have difficulty learning in a traditional school setting a different environment they may learn better in. It is very rewarding to see students excited to get their hands in the soil and to make connections about food and plants. Plants can teach all sorts of lessons about goal-setting, nurturing, patience, and self-capability. There is also the great benefit of understanding the food system, that foods are plants and living things, not just something that appears in the fridge or grocery store. Already, students are surprised at how much they enjoy fruit or vegetables they have not tried before.

I am from Oregon! I grew up there and this is the most significant amount of time I have lived outside the state. I keep getting “location dismorphia” of sorts and forget I am on the coast! I am very happy to be living in North Carolina, I love the trees and the culture of kindness here. I spent a couple months living here at a Center for Environmental Farming Services internship, and knew I wanted to move back. I have an education background in environmental science, specializing in soil science and gender studies. I like to sew, camp, and hike.

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Share Our Strength’s mission is to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and abroad. The Cooking Matters campaign helps low-income families learn to shop and cook healthy meals on a budget.

Caity Ashley, Share Our Strength AmeriCorps Member

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I believe in the mission of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and have interned with the Community Health Education team for the past 6 months. I applied for the AmeriCorps position because I want to continue being a part of such an innovative and purposeful organization. The people are great, and the work is meaningful. I’m excited to continue coordinating Cooking Matters for Adults classes. I really enjoy working with seniors - I learn so much and appreciate the vibrancy that they always bring to class.

I wish I had known a thing or two about nutrition when I was younger! I think often by the time people realize the affect that poor nutrition has on them, the habits are incredibly hard to break. If we can make healthy choices fun and exciting for youth, they have a much better chance of adopting healthy habits as an adult, especially when they become the primary food purchasers. I love that the Food Shuttle teaches kids skills that allow ownership over the food they consume and encourages creativity in their nutrition choices.

I am originally from Northern Virginia in the small town of Warrenton. I graduated from Roanoke College a year and half ago with a degree in Biology and am hoping to pursue a master’s in public health in the next several years. I was a collegiate runner and have continued competing in road races since I graduated. My next race is the Boston Marathon in April!