INDIANAPOLIS — It's a fellowship offered to high school students unlike any other in the Circle City.
The Patachou Foundation's "Food Fellowship" was first announced last year around the same time it opened the "Foundation Coffee Company." Income made from the coffee shop was said to go toward not only making 1,500 afterschool meals a week but also to fund a fellowship that teaches teens the power of food as a tool for equity.
The foundation has continued to fulfill that mission since.
In June, six area high school students embarked on a paid six-week journey of learning sustainable farming, culinary arts, barista skills, customer service, career-readiness, job-seeking, and financial literacy from industry professionals.
"In Indianapolis neighborhoods where it's easier to buy liquor than lettuce, young people's opportunity for success is limited because of the zip code of their birth," Matthew Feltrop, the Food Fellowship's executive director, said.
Feltrop says access to food is only one part of the equation in addressing food insecurity.
"Poverty and hunger lead to a lifetime of missed opportunities," Feltrop said. "The playing field is not level for everyone."
Patachou says the goal of the fellowship is to teach practical skills that can break the cycle of poverty for young people. Therefore, creating leaders for their communities.
"Fellows will leave the program with a head full of new ideas and knowledge," Lade Akande, a fellowship program director, said. "But also with physical evidence of their accomplishments: ServSafe certification, a resume, and badges from Job Ready Indy that will set them ahead in their career paths."
Each of the fellows will graduate from the program on Friday. In celebration, the high schoolers will design, cook, and serve a special meal to their families using fresh-picked produce they helped grow throughout the summer.
You can learn more about the fellowship and how to volunteer at thepatachoufoundation.org.