November 16, 2016

Santa Rosa Beach, FL

By: Jessica Roberts

Corvias Sponsors Garden Installation at Walton Academy

More than a quarter of Walton County’s children are living in poverty. Local nonprofit, Food For Thought Outreach, has spent the last six years battling food insecurity and child hunger in Walton County, and has been working in Okaloosa County for the last four years.

Food For Thought started their work by providing weekly backpacks filled with easy-to-prepare, nutritious foods to bridge the gap of missed meals to students receiving free and reduced lunches during the school week. As that service continues - now reaching over 1,600 students each week and during school holidays - Food For Thought is also expanding the programming and services provided.

“Food For Thought is growing each year in the number of students and families served. We are launching these school gardens, along with a garden at our Destin Pantry to find new paths to fight food insecurity,” says Tiffanie Nelson, Founder and Executive Director of Food For Thought Outreach. “The Garden Initiative along with our Full Circle Kitchen that is currently being built in our Santa Rosa Beach Pantry, are giving these students new resources to learn about food, nutrition, and providing skills to serve them now and in the future. Students will gain an increased sense of purpose as they witness their efforts produce tangible results in the garden. Access to fresh foods continues to be the number one request from the students we serve and this is a step toward sustainable access to such foods.”

On November 15th, Corvias Military Living sponsored the first Food For Thought school garden at Walton Academy Charter School. The team at Corvias has been a vocal and active community partner for many projects and when the idea of the school garden came to them, they just couldn’t pass it up.

“One of the core values for all Corvias employees is giving back to the communities in which we live and serve. Through Corvias Foundation, our local team is given the opportunity to adopt a charity and support them in their initiative. It seemed like a natural fit to support Food for Thought and Walton Academy through this great program,” says Kathryn Hendrickson, Corvias Field Administrator.

Over 51% of all K-12 students in the United States qualify for Free and Reduced Meals and 86% of the students at Walton Academy are on the Free and Reduced Meal Plan. For Nelson, more has to be done to fight these growing rates. The intention for the on-campus garden to not simply provide food for Food For Thought programs, but to provide the students an opportunity to apply their education in the garden.

"Walton Academy is excited about having the opportunity to encourage our students through lessons that only a garden can teach,” says David Schmidt, Director of Walton Academy Charter School. “This garden means our students from the beginning will participate in what it takes to prepare the grounds for the growth and acknowledge the process until harvest.”

Schmidt adds, “First, We must work to tend to any bad dirt, weeds and roots before we can even think about growth. Second, each of us has to plant a seed in hopes to receive produce and replant some of what we produced so we can continue to grow. Third, nourish and water the seed.  The seeds of intentions are nourished with the water of affirmative thoughts. Our students have to believe in themselves and their future, regardless of their past.  Fourth, weeding is a fact of gardening to remove unwanted plants that crowd out and remove good nutrients.  Finally, harvest and enjoy!  Know that the creation is realized. Notice any aspect of the desired reality taking shape, no matter how small. Gratitude and appreciation continue the process of creation to blossom into new directions, events, and opportunities."

This marks a new chapter for the growing organization with hopes to continue the Garden Initiative in more schools in the near future. Food For Thought continues to thrive thanks to generous donations and dedicated volunteers.

If you would like to donate time or funds, please email or visit

About Food For Thought Outreach

Food For Thought is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Santa Rosa Beach, FL that provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. Our goal is to support a child’s development and educational experience by bridging the gap between school meals during weekends and holiday breaks.  Food For Thought has been working to fight child hunger since 2010, and currently serves 21 schools in Walton and Okaloosa Counties, providing backpacks for 1,580 students each week. For more information, such as donation locations, pantry items needed, and opportunities to volunteer, please email

About Walton Academy Charter School

Walton Academy is a tuition-free public charter school located in historic DeFuniak Springs in the heart of the Florida Panhandle.  Serving grades 6-12, the school offers small class sizes, blended learning, credit recovery, and alternative diploma options. Walton Academy Charter School is a Title I school.

About Corvias Military Living

Corvias Military Living is a fully integrated development, construction and property management firm. Originally founded in 1998 as Picerne Military Housing, the company was created to provide dramatically improved housing for America's service members and their families. Through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI), Corvias Military Living is partnered with the Army in the ownership of approximately 24,000 homes at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Bragg, Fort Meade, Fort Polk, Fort Riley, Fort Rucker and Fort Sill, and with the Air Force at Edwards AFB, Eglin AFB, Eielson AFB, Hurlburt Field, McConnell AFB, and Seymour Johnson AFB.

Walton Academy students working with Corvias employees

Corvias Military Living Staff and Volunteers, Tiffanie Nelson, Walton Academy Charter School Staff and Administration
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