Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Internship: Week 5

This week we started the day off by playing an ice breaker called "Pass the Egg". We each had a spoon and had to pass an egg around the circle, from spoon to spoon, without dropping it... while being timed! (We did have to give a moment of silence to a fallen egg). After some practice, we got the egg around the circle in under 30 seconds

After our fun little ice breaker, we headed down to the farm to do some planting. We were split into four teams: one team planted tomatoes and basil, the second team planted beans and kale, the third team planted potatoes, and the fourth team planted Alyssum flowers, which attract beneficial insects to keep the farm healthy and balanced.

Next, we headed to the chicken coup, where we collected eggs for our omelets we were going to make later on in the kitchen.


After collecting eggs, Doron led us through a workshop called "How To Get A Job and Keep A Job". We started by checking out the job application for the Boardwalk. We dug into a conversation about best practices on how to apply and interview for a job.  We went through real scenarios of past FoodWhat youth and talked about our own attempts in going for jobs.  Then we practiced calling our bosses and leaving messages--Doron gave each one of us a scenario to act out and we had to call him to say we were going to be late, or miss a day, or had a family emergency, and so on.  We wrapped up talking about how to keep our schedule so we never miss a day of work or show up late.  At the end we discussed cursing and tricks to "flip the switch" off from any cursing while on the job.  This workshop laid it all out.

After the workshop, Abby took us to the kitchen and we began preparing our omelets. We diced up veggies, like broccoli, chard, and green garlic, grated up some cheese, cracked open the eggs and scrambled them up in bowls. Once we finished prepping, we cooked up the veggies in a pan. We then poured our eggs in a couple other pans and let them cook into fluffy omelets. We stuffed in some veggies and cheese and voila, Yummy!

Doron then talked to us about applying for the FoodWhat Summer Job. There are 20 positions to be hired out of the 50+ youth currently in the Spring Internship.  We will be paid $9/hour and work for about two months, Tues-Fri from 9am-3pm.  The focus on the Summer Job is PROFESSIONALISM.  We will be farming, cooking, engaging in leadership workshops, tackling food justice projects in the community and growing food for our families.  At each step of the way we will be learning critical job skills and boosting our leadership.  By the end of the summer we will have made $1280 and built a tool kit of job skills to succeed in any job in the future.  He encouraged us to apply if we were interested and to fill out the application by next week to then do an interview.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

FoodSpeaks Radio Show on Building Community through Food!

Another fresh and local episode of FoodSpeaks...voices in the Santa Cruz food movement. This week, Doron's guest on the show was Kendra Baker--part of the dynamic duo with Zach Davis--that has brought our community Penny Ice Creamery, The Picnic Basket, and now Assembly and Pop Up.  Doron and Kendra dove into a rich conversation with Kendra sharing her own culinary and entrepreneurial path toward these local endeavors, social justice issues their businesses address, local economic development, and of course, how they build community through food!  Click the green "play" button below to hear this juicy interview!

Kendra Baker of The Penny Ice Creamery and Assembly
Doron Comerchero of "Food,What?!"



Thursday, April 3, 2014


This week we prepped beds, sowed seeds, made veggie fried rice, and learned about the importance of "Eating a Rainbow" 

Forking the bed
Gianna and Bryan sowing carrot seeds

The crew sowing carrot seeds
We got our first seeds into the FoodWhat field just in time for the rain. We forked, composted, raked out the beds, and sowed beets and carrots. 

We're not just talkin' skittles here, different color fruits and veggies actually help different parts of our bodies. We did a workshop to learn about the nutritional benefits of all the different colors...
Orange fruits and vegetables help our vision and help boost our immune system
After we worked up our appetite, we made Rainbow Veggie Fried Rice (recipe here) with Beets, Carrots, Leeks, Broccoli, Celery, Purple Cabbage, Turnips and Ginger, and Brown Rice. Most of us thought this was our favorite FoodWhat recipe so far!
Mmmmm, good!
Gianna and Angelique chowin' down

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Internship 2014: Week Three

We can't believe it is already week three of our spring program! We got a lot done this week.  First, we started with an ice breaker where everybody was divided into groups of three, and given a large piece of paper that represented a raft.  Doron would give out different challenges to the teams, such as "only two feet and one hand can be on the raft." The teams used team work and problem solving skills to achieve the various commands. 

After the ice breaker, we headed to the kitchen to prep the vegetable soup and corn bread muffins.  

While the soup was cooking, we all worked on the farm for a bit.  This week, we learned about the importance of composting: how compost is made, and why we do it.  Compost gives the soil nutrients, and is better for the environment than throwing away food scraps.  The first thing we did was skim the cover crop off the bed, so that we could use the cover crop to make compost piles.  The youth was divided into two groups, and each group was assigned a leader to give out tasks for making the compost piles.  Using cover crop, straw, and food scraps, we were able to make compost piles by layering them on top of each other, and adding water.

After we finished making our compost piles, Doron led a workshop called "What You Drink, What You Think: Youth $ Power." During this workshop, we filled out a survey that asked us for our opinions on food, and the affect it has on us.  After we discussed our thoughts on the affect food has on our bodies, physically and mentally, we talked about the cons of processed sugar.  We also looked at the ingredients and grams of sugar in some popular sugary drinks, like Arizona tea, Coke, and Rockstar.  We guessed how many grams of sugar were really in these drinks; after pouring the amount of sugar in these drinks into an empty cup, seeing how much sugar was really in these drinks was a shock.  Afterwards, we got to sample some healthier juices, such as sparkling apple cider and coconut juice.

We ended the day with eating the vegetable soup and corn bread muffins we prepared earlier, and saying our triumphs for the day. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Internship 2014: Week Two

This week, we started off with an ice breaker called elbow to elbow. We teamed up with a partner and touch elbows (or heels, fists, shoulders, etc.) and Doron asked us a question (for example, "If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?") We told our partner our answer to his question. Then, we would switch partners and do it all over again.

After our ice breaker, we grabbed the plants that we harvested last week and started making our salve! We broke up the plants into small pieces, put them in a jar, and poured some olive oil into the jar and mixed it all up. We put the jar into a pot of water (double boiler) and heated so the plants could release their healing properties into the oil. We then strained the oil, added bees wax and poured it into tiny containers so that we could all have our own personal salve.

After we made our salve, we got our hands dirty by flipping beds. This was a multi-step process. We first skimmed out the cover crops from the beds and added them to cooking compost piles. Then, we forked the beds to break up the soil underneath the surface and added compost so that our vegetables have lots of good nutrients to help them grow. After that, we raked out the bed and planted seeds. Some of us planted carrots, and others planted radishes, peas and spinach (yum!). It was a long process, but it was fun and hopefully we will have fresh veggies soon!

Then, we played Food Jeopardy, where Doron asked us different questions relating to health, nutrition, farming, sanitation, and money. He split us up into two teams and started asking us questions related to these themes. Each question he asked had different amount of points associated with the question, and each team had a chance to answer at least one question before the next team was able to go. Not only were the answers to these questions really interesting, but we learned a lot and had a lot of fun playing.

After our game, we made veggie quesadillas! We took vegetables from the garden- like onions, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, and other veggies- and diced them into little pieces and cooked them up. We then got to make our own quesadillas, piled with the veggies inside. A lot of us had never  had a veggie quesadilla before. They were so yummy!

We ended the day with triumphs, where we each said one thing that we felt triumphant for during the day. This was an amazing FoodWhat second week, and we can't wait to see what happens next!

Friday, March 14, 2014

FoodSpeaks Radio Show on Farm Labor Justice!

It was a pleasure to share the mic with recent FoodWhat alum, Victoria Bernal, to talk about farm worker justice.  Vicky is a Pajaro Valley High School graduate, a current UCSC Student concentrating in Farm Labor Justice, and grew up in the berry fields of Watsonville bringing her first hand experience to this important conversation.  You can listen to this episode of FoodSpeaks by clicking the "play" icon below!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Internship 2014: Week One

It's that time of year again: Spring! We're really excited that the Spring Internship program has started, and we've got 50 new youth joining us from all over Santa Cruz County!

We started off the first day with introductions and an ice breaker (which consisted of tossing a piece of citrus at one another and trying to remember each other's names). Afterwards, Doron and Abby gave a tour of the farm. During the tour, we learned about some of the crops we grow on the farm, and collected various medicinal plants, such as plantain and lavender, for next week (the youth will use the plants they collected in order to learn how to make a salve).

After the tour, we all sat down together, and participated in an activity where we were invited to discuss what we value most in life through putting our "most important word" on the board. We also brainstormed a big list of how we want to work together as a team.  Then we dove into our contracts looking at the expectations of us in this job, and then what FoodWhat offers in return. After everybody was on board, and the contracts were signed, it was time to grab some shovels and forks for some garden work! This week, we busted out flipping some compost piles.  Doron and Abby were very impressed with how quickly we got the work done!

We ended the day FoodWhat style, with making pumpkin muffins and strawberry smoothies, and reflecting on our triumphs for the day.

A successful FoodWhat first week!