Leading by Example
Meet Greg Wright, Community Schools Coordinator for the Mayor's Office of Education
25 years, 25 stories
When he started at The Food Trust in 2011 as an FAO Schwarz fellow, Greg Wright didn’t know anything about growing his own fruits and vegetables. But one of his first projects with The Food Trust was working with elementary school students in Philadelphia’s Fairhill and Norris Square communities to increase access to healthy food in their neighborhoods, so he had to learn on the fly. Together, “Mr. Greg” and the students grew collards and eggplants and other vegetables to sell at local corner stores.
Greg spent more than five years with The Food Trust in various roles, and helped to launch the organization’s youth leadership program, HYPE (Healthy You. Positive Energy.), which now reaches tens of thousands of students every year.
“HYPE makes being healthy fun,” Greg says. “Students get tired of hearing adults say ‘Do this’ and ‘Do that.’ With HYPE, young people get to be the agents for change.” Greg saw those changes in action at countless schools where he helped lead school breakfast programs, healthy eating pep rallies, movement breaks and dance competitions. He’s seen changes in the community, too: Recently, students from the citywide Get HYPE Philly! Youth Leadership Council lobbied the City Council for better access to water in their schools.
Like many former Food Trust staff, Greg is bringing his passion for improving healthy food access to new communities and partners. Today, Greg is making the city healthier as part of the Mayor’s Office of Education, where he works as a Community Schools Coordinator for the Mayor's Office of Education. And Greg remains an avid gardener, tending to a small plot in his Philadelphia backyard.
“Last year I grew mostly herbs, greens and cherry tomatoes,” he says, “but next season, I’m going to start experimenting with melons and stone fruit.”
Learn more about how The Food Trust is teaching the next generation how to get a healthy start.