Idaho Conservation Corps Food Program

It is our goal to provide meals that are nutritious, plentiful and enjoyable for every single person, every single day.  The menus are carefully designed to provide enough calories to nourish and satisfy a field crew appetite. Meals are a very important part of the ICC Program.  Preparation and family style meals help build community as well as satisfy appetites. Below you find answers to common questions regarding ICC Food Program.

Our food program supplies over 1,000 youth and staff every year. This is a tremendous undertaking. Food is purchased in bulk then sorted, portioned, packed and delivered into the field to all 25 crews that are spread across a five state area. That’s almost 1,000 Lbs. of spaghetti noodles and over 1,500 Lbs. of cheese alone! ICC is one of the few youth corps programs that have a food program specifically designed to feed the youth and staff in the field.  Due to this tremendous undertaking ICC does charge a food fee.

So where does your food fee go?

ICC' food program is operated on the belief that having the ability to purchase food in large quantities results in lower costs for the product.  So where is the money spent then? Although we have savings in the cost of the products, there are a number of factors that are part of ICC’s food program which go beyond the direct food costs. ICC hires a person to manage the food program which includes going to the store, interacting with vendors, making trail mix, weekly inventories, and packing boxes and coolers. They also need to take many of the bulk items and re-package them into quantities which work for a crew. Costs for this person include wages, taxes, and workers compensation.

The food program also provides for and maintains all the kitchen equipment required to serve food at ICC. Stoves, pots, pans, plates, bowls, utensils, tables, coolers, back county stoves, and all the other equipment and miscellaneous materials and supplies needed are covered under the food program.

Lastly, there are the costs associated with the space needed to manage the food program. Electricity, janitorial costs, water, maintenance of walk-in coolers and refrigerators, vehicle costs associated with store trips are all real costs to managing food at ICC.

What kinds of Vegetarian options are provided?

Different diets are not uncommon and frequently we have found that vegetarian options are needed. Some options that we now send out are as followed: Hummus, falafel, nature burger, and tofurkey deli meats are now available. With every meal there is always a vegetarian option available.

What is the difference between Front Country and Back Country food?

The reason why there is a distinction between the two types of food is due to the location of the campsite while in the field. A front country crew means that they will not be hiking several miles to their campsite.  The crew will have a standard kitchen setup, meaning they will have a griddle, coolers, and propane, along with lots of pots and pans. With this available the food options are not as limited. Items you would find are not that different from what you would find in a super market.

Back country food options are different because of the hike that is needed to get to their camp site. All food and kitchen supplies needed will be hiked in packs to the campsite. Crews that hike into their camp utilize an adapted menu to minimize pack weight. Most dinners in the back country include rice or pasta with likely sides or toppings which include: powdered eggs, dry salami, kielbasa, canned meats such as chicken, turkey or tuna, dehydrated tomato sauce, corn, onion, stew mix, peppers, mushrooms, and even beans. TVP (textured vegetable protein) is a great substitute for meat products.

Can we make special accommodations for diet restrictions?

Participant safety is paramount to everything we do at ICC. Vegetarian options are available at every meal; however, individual dietary needs cannot be met. Allergies to foods such as nuts, seeds, dairy, or gluten can place individuals at serious risk of anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction.  At a minimum, food allergies can make for a very unpleasant experience. Note that our meal program includes nuts, seeds, dairy, and gluten products at every level. Please make sure you have a clear understanding of the foods we can offer when making your decision to join our residential programs. We cannot meet individual dietary needs and therefore, youth with these conditions will not be able to participate in our residential programs but should look for a non-residential program in our offerings.

What type of food options are there for different meal times?


Crews enjoy hot and cold cereals, pancakes, potatoes, granola, powdered milk, oranges or apples, and yogurt which are all items readily available for breakfast at ICC.


Lunches generally include sandwich options such as peanut butter, jelly, honey, hummus, cheese, or tuna. Lunch meats are available early in the week before they have a chance to spoil. Additional snack items include apples, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, cookies, and trail mix.


Spaghetti with tomato based or a cream of mushroom sauce, stir-fry vegetables with rice, lasagna, enchilada pie, Sheppard’s pie, burgers/hot dogs, and burritos are all on the menu. Again each meal has a vegetarian option which can include tofu, tempeh, falafel, nature burger, beans, rice, pastas, and of course vegetables.