Curt Ellis is bringing the school cafeteria into the
21st century, making it easier for children to access nutritious, delicious food.

Schools are, in a sense, the nation’s largest restaurant chain. For every McDonald’s in America, there are seven lunchrooms. But too often, school lunch is treated as an afterthought—a cost to be contained and a drain on resources and time.

FoodCorps co-founder and CEO Curt Ellis is changing that by reframing school lunch as a powerful tool to build community and promote equity in education. How, exactly? FoodCorps pairs food educators with high-poverty schools, where they teach kids how to garden and cook, introduce them to healthy options on the lunch line, and help forge a school-wide culture of health. In addition, FoodCorps mobilizes cross-sector partners to improve the quality of school food, and advocates for policy reforms that improve food education and access at scale.

Today, FoodCorps is working in 375 schools across the U.S., bringing its food education program to 160,000 students. “Food is a prism,” Curt says. “Peer into it, and you see our nation’s deepest struggles refracted: entrenched poverty, declining life expectancy, racial injustice, and a planet at risk. Shift that prism in the light, and you see the solutions.”