The other night as I was laying my son, Jasper Jack, to sleep I had a subtle epiphany. Not only has this little guy dramatically changed my sleeping habits, improved my attitude toward kid centered shopping carts, and gifted me with

“a superhuman ability to nonchalantly handle human feces”

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but he has also shifted the way I view my service. As he was recalling his day through unintelligible phrases, I realized that I no longer stress about the small things. I don’t lay awake at night thinking about the beet juice I spilled in front of Ms. Gardener’s room, or the look the custodian gave me as I very quickly wheeled two convection ovens billowing beet smoke down the hall with the hopes of reaching the playground before the smoke detectors caught wind of my burnt beets (let’s be real; I should move onto another vegetable). However, as I was reflecting on how sweet it is not to sweat the small stuff, I realized just how personal the larger goals of FoodCorps have become to me. I realized that when I look at troubling statistics, in a few years they won’t just be national numbers, they will be a part of my son’s everyday experiences. This food stuff is the real deal!

The food culture that we are working toward today isn’t going to be the food system of some undefinable future generation; it’s going to be Jasper’s, not in the distant future, in 3 years when he starts elementary school and begins participating in the school lunch program! When we say that one in three children are on track to develop Type II Diabetes, that means that in ten years when I attempt to pile a group of Jasper’s friends into my sweet minivan to head on a fishing trip, 1 in 3 of them may need to remember to bring insulin (half of his friends if they are of color). In addition to that, 16 million of his peers may experience food insecurity at home. “Ahh!!!”
At that point,

“I was having a mini-anxiety attack”

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while Jasper was pretending to sleep, waiting for me to step one foot out of the room before crying again. Then, I began to think of the real folks that are doing real work engaging our youth with real food. I thought of the national efforts that are laboring to address these (Jasper’s) challenges.

“I recalled all of the smiling faces in Montana that I have met that are passionately moving forward with brilliant ideas and programs,”

the inspiring folks at FoodCorps national, and the individuals that have never even heard of FoodCorps but are leading the movement in other ways! Needless to say, I left Jasper’s room excited to begin again and ready to make more beet smoothies for the cause! Thanks Jasper!