Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Faces of FoodWhat" Event First Friday November 4th -- Don't miss it!

"Food, What?!" First Friday Party Downtown
November 4th from 5-10pm!
Come join us for a very unique First Friday next week for an evening benefiting FoodWhat. Enjoy youth-crafted, farm-fresh food, incredible photography of youth from their farm experience this past year, and music by Marty O'Reilly, all wrapped up in a wine release party for the new Ser Winery Ventana Surfboard Syrah at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge!

The centerpiece of this fabulous evening of food, wine and music will be portraits of FoodWhat youth with an interesting twist. There will be 17 large format and bold prints for sale which will benefit FoodWhat and each portrait will then be given to the young person in the photo! David Dennis has been generously organizing this show and all his time and portrait sales will be matched 100% by Microsoft, his employer!

Free Admission + Fantastic Raffle (Patagonia Gear, Santa Cruz Warriors Tickets, Dinners at Bantam and Oswald, Instructed Climbing Trip, MAH Family Membership, Boardwalk Passes, Gift Certs to Local Coffee Shops, and more!)

This is a MUST attend First Friday event that's going to be super fun. Great food, wine, people, music, and all proceeds go to directly to FoodWhat!
Event info is at

Food Lounge
1001 Center St. in Downtown Santa Cruz
(map below)

from 5:00 - 10:00 pm

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 Fall Benefit Dinner a Huge Success!

   2016 Fall Benefit Dinner a Huge Success!

"Food, What?!" celebrated our 10th year with an absolutely full house of wonderful new friends and steadfast supporters, including 36 alumni from the past decade of FoodWhat!

Over 300 community members including teachers, farmers, education leaders, elected officials, local businesses, FoodWhat alumni and supporters from all over Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area came together to celebrate FoodWhat at our annual Benefit Dinner on September 18th. We are still feeling the magic of that special night. We are humbled by the phenomenal youth that we partner with, and our FoodWhat community that make this work possible. We couldn't do it without you! 

Thanks to the generosity of the FoodWhat Family, we successfully met our ambitious $50,000 fundraising goal and triggered $50,000 in matching funds from sponsors. That's $100,000 in funding for youth empowerment, leadership development, job training, health and nutrition, and food justice work in 2017! 

We have so many people to thank for making the night such a success. Our deepest thanks to our Board of Directors and table captains who brought so many folks together to celebrate and support 10 years of FoodWhat! Huge props to the FoodWhat alumni and stellar volunteers who came out to help run the event smoothly. We are super grateful to our amazing chef partners for their talent and tireless work with the FoodWhat youth crew to prepare the meal:

Chefs Heidi Schlecht and Amy Padilla, Feel Good Foods
Chef Cesario Ruiz and My Mom's Mole
Chef Chris LaVeque and El Salchichero
Chef Damani Thomas, Oswald Restaurant 
Chef Kendra Baker, Assembly Restaurant
Chef Fran Grayson, Steamer Lane Supply
Chefs Mario & Jessica Ballesteros, Ballesteros Catering 

And many thanks to our sponsors and event partners without whom the Benefit Dinner would not be possible! 

Together, we're ready for another big year.

With gratitude,
Doron,  Abby,  Anna, Irene, David, Deonte, Nathan, and the entire FoodWhat Crew

PS: We hope to see you at the next Benefit Dinner in September 2017!

Thanks again to our generous sponsors!


Youth Power Champions
The David & Abigail Kaun Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Sustainable Future Supporters
Branwyn & Ken Wagman
Bobby Pelz & Lindsay Parker
The Stocker Family Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Health Youth Heroes
David Soares & Suz Howells

Job Preparedness Patrons

Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Farm Systems (CASFS)
Live Earth Farm
Farm Discovery
Life Lab
Matt Farrar, Ignition Designs
Bon Appetit Management Company
Blue House Farm
Crystal Birns Photography
Companion Bakeshop
JBQAV - Quality Pro Audio
Reusable Bag Solutions
Pete Bell TV
Pie Ranch
Sports Design
Straus Family Creamery
Whale City Bakery

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fall Season at FoodWhat!

Fall Jobs have begun at FoodWhat! We currently have 16 youth employed in various jobs, including Low-Income Farm Stands, Farm & Harvest Crew, Flower Business, Culinary/Catering Crew, Event Planners, and a school garden BLAST Crew!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August Photo-of-the-Month

FoodWhat Wraps Up 10th Successful Summer!

Friends and family of our 2016 Summer Crew gathered together to enjoy some delicious home-made tamales and share appreciations for a strong summer completed.
 Thank you to everyone that contributed to a 10th consecutive summer of youth success!

Friday, July 15, 2016

July Photo of the Month - pounds and pounds and pounds!

Irene and Ja'Chea rocking out one crate of the over 2600 pounds of potatoes we have harvested over the last two Fridays as part of our summer job with youth.  Plus we planted 3000 pepper plants, 14,000 lettuce starts, and put 1000 potato pieces in the ground.  There's no need for the "what" in our name with all this food we're working on!

Every Friday we work on Live Earth Farm and Farm Discovery engaging in organic agriculture and learning how to sustain hard work and push through when we reach our edge. The Summer Job Training Program is in full effect!


Hope to see you there!
Copyright © 2016 "Food, What?!", All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Thank you to everyone who came out to help and participate with FoodWhat?! for the 2016 Strawberry Blast Festival. It wouldn't have been this amazing if it wasn't for all of our partn
ers and youth! The Blast was planned and organized by two FoodWhat 2015 alumni, Manuel and Grace, who put on another bangin event. On Friday May 27th we welcomed 300 local high school and middle school students to the FoodWhat at the UCSC farm for a day of farm, health, and youth empowerment-based activities! The event gave youth the unique opportunity to trace a strawberry from field to plate and learned about how our local food system works! It also taught youth about food justice and real facts about the food we consume through a variety of workshops and hands-on activities, such as The Food Justice Wall, "What You Drink, What You Think", Fast Food Jeopardy, Trace Your Taco, and much more!! Students experienced how to grow their own food, harvested farm fresh organic strawberries, and dove into preparing and eating tasty healthy food like strawberry tarts and smoothies! It turned out to be such a fun and educational festival! Until next year!!

We started the day by each picking a few berries. Extra delicious when they are freshly picked.

Then we got to participate in a bunch of activities and stations. 

What you Drink, What you Think...

FoodWhat Jr Staff, Aaliyah led a workshop about
processed sugar in popular beverages and how youth can exercise
their power by choosing what to spend their $$ on

Participants engaged with fun STEM activities with MESA 

Fast Food Jeopardy

FoodWhat Jr Staff Ollie and Shin dropped some fun (and gross) facts with Fast Food Jeopardy 
FoodWhat Alum, Victoria taught people about
guerrilla gardening by making Seed Bombs

The Community Agroecology
Network (CAN) led a workshop
about the benefits of Fair Trade
and direct market transactions
with farmers 

And the favorite... Strawberry smoothies!

Many thanks to local farms Live Earth,
Dirty Girl, UCSC
and Jacobs Farm for
providing extra berries for the event!

Thanks to Straus Family Creamery
for donating milk and yogurt --YUM!

Button Making with Subject to Change from the MAH

Watsonville Wetlands Watch

Trace your Taco:
FoodWhat Alum, Uriel, led a workshop about food systems by
examining all the ingredients in a Taco Bell taco
(above) students act out what its like for cows in a CAFO
(Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)

Organic vanilla yogurt, strawberries,
whole wheat pie crust
and Voila!

Yep, a good day it was...