Real Food for Kids
is pleased to welcome Jenn Yates as its new Executive Director. For nearly two decades, Jenn Yates has crafted winning advocacy campaigns and worked to build a healthier, more sustainable food system in the United States.
“Healthy school meals provide children with a strong start in life, establishing lifelong eating habits that can reduce rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. Healthy school meals also contribute to long-term economic and public health gains, reducing future health care costs and increasing future earnings potential. Real Food for Kids has modeled how collaboration can lead to positive change for school meals, and I am excited to continue building on that strong record of accomplishments to ensure that every child has access to healthier school food and a healthy future,” Yates said.
Jenn Yates brings a wealth of experience in food advocacy and policy, coalition building, and public education. At the Union of Concerned Scientists, she led efforts to expand support for healthy food and farms through government policy, institutional purchasing, and consumer education. More recently she oversaw the launch of a multi-media campaign by A Place at the Table, aimed at disrupting Americans’ understanding of the root causes of hunger and driving support for school meals, nutrition assistance, and other critical safety net programs.
“Jenn has a passion for connecting kids with healthy food and understands the importance of school meals in creating healthy futures.” said Real Food for Kids' co-founder and board chair, Jocelyn Hsu. “This combined with her proven track record as an organizational leader, coalition builder, and communicator will provide Real Food for Kids with a steady hand and strong leadership going forward.”
Co-Founder JoAnne Hammermaster is stepping down from the role of Executive Director and will remain on the Board of Directors. “It has been an honor to shape Real Food for Kids into the region’s biggest cheerleader for school officials as they work to improve school food,” said Hammermaster. “In just eight years, we have made tangible changes in the healthfulness of food options available at area schools; created greater awareness among parents, teachers, and school administrators about the public health importance of school food; and created a culture of collaboration between schools, parents, kids, and public health advocates. I am excited to continue this work as we embark on an exciting new chapter that will take advantage of the skills and experience Jenn brings to our organization.”