Photo courtesy of Whitney Kidder, for FoodCorps
The White House announced last week that Debra “Deb” Eschmeyer will join the administration staff as the senior policy advisor for nutrition policy and executive director of Let’s Move!, the initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity. She replaces Sam Kass, who left these positions in December.
Eschmeyer comes to the White House from FoodCorps, a national AmeriCorps program she co-founded to place service members in schools in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. The members offer lessons on food and nutrition, build and tend school gardens, give cooking lessons and suggest improvements to school lunch menus. The program now serves schools in 16 states and Washington, D.C.
Eschmeyer also grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio and now owns a fruit and vegetable farm there with her husband.
“For more than a decade, Deb has been leading the way in teaching kids about the importance of healthy eating,” said Michelle Obama in the announcement. “From classrooms and gardens to kitchens and farms, Deb has made learning about nutrition fun and accessible for kids across the country.”
“We look forward to working with Deb in her new position, and to sharing current research and insight on dairy nutrition as we did with Sam Kass,” said Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy.
Fortune and Food & Wine recently selected Eschmeyer as one of “The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink,” and she received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award “in recognition of her exemplary school food reform efforts and commitment to public service.”
Before founding FoodCorps, she served as a W.K. Kellogg Food and Community Fellow and as communications and outreach director of the National Farm to School Network where she created One Tray, a national campaign to improve federal child nutrition programs.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.