Jessica Carroll

Operations Support Specialist | Whole Kids Foundation

Gardening was a big part of my childhood. I grew up on a cattle range, and we always planted a huge garden — at least an acre. I remember when I was in elementary school, my dad gave me my own little patch to plant. I had just discovered radishes and was a little obsessed. They were bright red and peppery and brand new to me. So when it came time to plant, I chose radishes. I can still remember how amazing it was to watch them grow, and then came the treat of harvesting and eating them!

As someone who spent her early life farming and ranching, it’s a real privilege to bring an everyday appreciation of the earth to kids who may have never put their hands in the ground.

My degree in human development and family studies taught me that access to proper nutrition plays a huge role in how well kids thrive. In fact, many of these crucial developmental phases occur during the early school years. I love being a part of Whole Kids Foundation because we can help provide access to better nutrition when kids need it most.

As Operations Support Specialist, it’s my job to keep the ball rolling behind the scenes. That can mean everything from accounting to data management. I process a lot of our donations, so I can actually see the impact when the checks come in. I also have the happy job of sending letters of appreciation to our supplier donors!

Prior to joining the team here, I taught culinary classes at an afterschool center. Introducing healthy new foods to kids is just a magical experience. Something as simple as a zucchini can be a whole new world to them! Plus, curiosity allows kids to be more adventurous than most people might expect.

Sometimes kids don’t have the opportunity to try nutritious foods at home. That’s why projects like school salad bars and school gardens are so important. Access to fresh, healthy food should be a part of everyday life.