Tara McNerney is the program director for Brighter Bites in Washington, D.C. She oversees all Brighter Bites activities in the metropolitan area and manages a dedicated team of staff members who assist in executing the Brighter Bites program.
Prior to joining Brighter Bites, Tara was a cooking and gardening teacher and a sustainability coordinator at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, the first “green” public charter school in Washington, D.C. It was there that she established one of D.C.’s best school garden programs and structured the sustainability curriculum for the entire campus. Tara has used these leadership experiences to enhance the partnerships she develops with schools that participate in Brighter Bites.
Tara’s favorite moments in her career have been seeing children try and enjoy new healthy foods. Her most rewarding moments come when she knows the mission to exposing kids to fresh food is having a positive impact, such as when she heard a group of students cheer about a new favorite veggie on the school lunch menu!
When not wearing her Brighter Bites hat, Tara happily spends much of her free time on food as well: she is an avid cook and loves growing vegetables in her community garden plot. She also enjoys running on the National Mall, playing volleyball, and hiking. Tara graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in environmental studies and received a master’s degree in strategic leadership toward sustainability at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, where she focused on food and agriculture systems.