Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The FoodWhat Crew Run A Farm Stand!

We're so excited to say this is the first year FoodWhat has opened up a farm stand outside of the Dominican Hospital! 

We partner with the UCSC Farm and Garden to help distribute local, organic produce in the community.  

Running the farm stand also gives the FoodWhat crew the opportunity to learn distribution and customer service skills.

"I liked being able to interact with different
people... and practicing my math was fun 
too." -Ziah
One of the great things about running a farm stand outside of Dominican Hospital is that it provides hospital workers with a healthier alternative to hospital food.  Also, the location of the farm stand is perfect for emphasizing health, since a good diet is fundamental for good health (which is what hospitals are all about!).  Having an organic farm stand located outside the hospital will help 
encourage doctors to educate patients about the importance of a healthy diet.

"I liked being able to give people healthy food!" -Evann

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

FoodWhat and the Homeless Garden Project

Each summer we spend one day a week working at the Homeless Garden Project. Similar to FoodWhat, the Homeless Garden Project (HGP) provides job training and employment support through growing produce and flowers. While FoodWhat works with teens, HGP works with homeless and transitioning people in our community. Working together is great partnership and collaboration between our two programs.

Here at FoodWhat, one of the many things we've been up to this summer is harvesting lavender! We collect and bundle lavender for the Homeless Garden Project to dry and sell in their various lavender products.

Once we harvest the lavender, the Homeless Garden Project then dries the lavender in these drying racks pictured below: 

The dried lavender is then used to make products such as salves, dry reeds, baking mixes, essential oils, and many other things!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The FoodWhat Crew Go Biking!

Over the summer, one of the many projects the youth participate in is the bike deliveries.

Before the bike deliveries, the youth learned/practiced safe biking. 

We deliver flowers that are grown at the FoodWhat farm to businesses such as: the Delmarette, Lulu's, Lulu's at the Octogon, and the Penny Ice Creamery.  Folks can see our flowers at these businesses for the rest of the growing season.  We also deliver lavender to a senior center for the Homeless Garden Project.

Stay tuned to see what else the FoodWhat Crew have been up to this summer!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer CSA Harvest!

Each week, the youth crew members get to take the produce that they are growing home to their families (like a CSA share).

On tuesdays and thursdays, we harvest whatever is ready in the fields. We learn about proper harvest and post harvest handling for each vegetable. Then we pack up the vegetables so we can use them with our families.

Some of the fruits and vegetables we harvested include:
summer squash

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Food, What?!" 2014 Summer Program

Our "Food, What?!" Summer program has begun!

We've got a rad crew of 20 first year youth and 4 junior staff stoked to engage in a summer of job training, leadership development, growing food and promoting food justice in our community. Some of our projects this summer include:

  • Working on the FoodWhat farm
  • CSA harvest for our crew and families
  • BLASTS! Heading out to various school gardens to bust out some big projects
  • Partnering with the Homeless Garden Project and People Power
  • Working the production fields at Live Earth Farm
  • Leadership, empowerment, nutrition, and food justice workshops
  • Mind body awareness practices
  • Cooking and learning with guest chefs

Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Parent Night!

Last week we invited all of our 2014 Summer Crew's parents out to the farm for an opportunity to connect about FoodWhat and share some good food together before we dive into summer. Monday night we gathered at the FoodWhat farm in Santa Cruz, and Tuesday we got to show-off the beautiful space at our partner farm, Live Earth, where we'll be spending every Friday this summer.

We opened the evening with introductions, and then talked a bit about what FoodWhat is and how the youth will be spending their time this summer. Parents seemed as excited as we are about the many opportunities in the coming weeks for developing our job training skills, personal growth, serving our community, and growing, harvesting and eating farm fresh organic food. They were especially stoked to learn that they'd be receiving a weekly CSA share!   

Then, in true FoodWhat style (ofcourse), we invited parents into the kitchen for a group cooking session. One of our favorites -- veggie quesadillas! Parents had a great time experiencing what it's like to step into the shoes of their youth and cook a farm fresh meal together.  

It was such a special opportunity for all of us at FoodWhat to have the chance to meet our 2014 Summer Crew parents! Many thanks to all those who came out and shared their evening with us!       

Friday, May 30, 2014

Strawberry Blast!

2014 Strawberry Blast Organizers: Cy'rae, Sammie, and Roanna
Last week we had our 7th annual Strawberry Blast event! We had about 175 middle and high school students from across the county come to the farm for a morning of food, farm, health, and empowerment activities. Everyone had an amazing and fun-filled time going to all of the different stations, making and creating things, and eating really good food. Here's a look at what went down:

At the front, people made name tags and received a map of all the different stations that were at the Blast. Then they followed signs to the strawberry field. Everyone was able to pick a few berries and while they ate them, they could read the signs that were placed in the field about strawberry justice. (Thank you Liz, Army, Cleo and CASFS for sharing your berries with us)!

Then everyone headed towards the FoodWhat area where the rest of the action was!

Grow Your Own Food station- the youth could come and fill up a 4” pot with soil and transplant lettuce or chard into the pot to take home. They then put a directions sticker on their pots so they knew how to take care of it when they got home.

Smoothies: An all-time favorite! Participants blended smoothies made from local organic strawberries, bananas, milk or rice milk, and yogurt using a bike blender (or an electric blender). No extra sugar added and, as always, the smoothies were so good! Thank you to People Power, Straus Family Creamery, Live Earth Farm and Dirty Girl Produce for helping make this station possible!

Goats and a Sheep: At this station, there was a real baby goat and a lamb! They were a little nervous because there were a lot of people, but Gail Harlmoff of West Side Feed and Farm gave them a bucket of food, and they calmed down quite a bit. They were so cute!

Rainbow Veggie Quesadillas: What if school lunch was this delicious and healthy? Fran and pulled up with Truck Stop and whipped out some rainbow veggie quesadillas topped with strawberry salsa. As Jaime passed them out he told folks about the health benefits of eating vegetables of all different colors. Those quesadillas we so good I probably went back 5 times throughout the Blast. It was one of the best tasting things there!

Strawberry Tarts: At another station, we got to make our own strawberry tarts. We went in front of a cutting board, chopped up one or two strawberries, grabbed a crust and filled it with yogurt, and then we placed our strawberries on top of the yogurt. They were a bit messy, but they were sweet and really good.

Pop- Up Fruit Stand: At another station, MAH was hosting the Pop Up Fruit Stand. We chose a fruit or a vegetable and shared a story that associated with that fruit or vegetable that we had. Then we wrote that story down so that everyone that came to that station could read our story and then share their own story. The after we told our story, we got to make our own buttons to show off to everyone!

Race to the Plate: A group of three to for of us received around 10-15 cards with food products on them, and then we gathered at the starting line and raced each other to 5-6 plates on the ground a few feet away from the starting line. We had to match the food the the right group that it belonged to, like if it was a starchy food or something else. The first person to get rid of all their cards and sprint back to the finish line won.

What You Drink What You Think: Under the canopy, we learned about how much sugar we are actually drinking at this workshop. We learned things like how much sugar was actually in an energy drink can and how bad it actually is for us. At the station behind the canopy, we played Fast Food Jeopardy, where we had to answer questions about food, fast food, and the fast food industry. We split into two teams and the team that had the most points at the end won the game!

And we had even more stations than that! The Strawberry Blast was a huge success. There was great food, lots of information to receive, and there was plenty of opportunities to have fun. I had an amazing time and can't wait for next year's blast!