Tara McNerney

Program Director

Tara is the program director for Brighter Bites Washington, D.C. Her passion for healthy food has formed a deep-running theme in her studies and career.

Tara first became acutely aware of the impact food has on our bodies and minds as a college varsity athlete. Her interest in healthy food access issues then took shape when a professor assigned The Omnivore’s Dilemma, soon after which she¬†began volunteering at the college’s organic farm. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College in environmental studies, she moved to Sweden to pursue a master’s degree in strategic leadership toward sustainability, in which she continued to specialize in food and agriculture systems.

In Washington, D.C., Tara spent the past five years as a teacher then school leader at a new sustainability-focused public charter school. Tara built many award-winning programs for the school, including a cooking and gardening class that cultivates in students the skills and food preferences needed to support healthy lifestyles. Her favorite moments were hearing students cheer when they saw their favorite fruit or veggie on the lunch menu and knowing that her effort to expose kids to fresh food was having an impact.

When not wearing her Brighter Bites hat, Tara happily spends much of her free time on food: cooking, eating, growing vegetables in her community garden plot, and scheming her next meal. She also enjoys running on the National mall, playing volleyball, and hiking.