Monday, July 6, 2015

CSA Harvest

When we grow food in the FoodWhat fields, our veggies quickly end up on our plates for lunch and on the tables of our farm stands for our communities. However, the bulk of what we grow ends up in our CSA bags to enjoy and share at home. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bags are rad for SO many reasons. They allow us to enjoy the fruits of our labor and give our families a look at the amazing results we're working for in the fields everyday. Taking home produce directly from our fields also gives us the opportunity to share the recipes we learn at lunch, introduce new types of food to our families and get creative with cooking, and we can engage in conversations about food justice at home. Best of all, it allows us to share the benefits of eating healthy organic food at home or with our communities outside of FoodWhat. 


Harvest days always start with a warm up game to get us moving led by our junior staff. A game of tag is a great way to get moving and laughing first thing in the morning.



  
We break off into small groups to efficiently harvest everything we need for the whole crew to take home a little bit of everything. We start with the crops that will take the longest to harvest, such as plums and carrots, and finish with the crops that are a little quicker, such as chard and squash. Harvesting also leads to us learning more about the food we're growing and eating. Sometimes we learn about new foods entirely, such as the alien-looking veggie kohlrabi.  




Abby leads us through the next step of the harvesting process. We go through the motions other farms go through to prepare their produce for sale to ensure quality products. We wash, weigh, record, and package our harvest to take home. This process trains us to have an eye for quality and to learn organizational skills to keep records of the summer's yield. 




When the harvest is clean and organized, we make bags for the whole crew to take home to their families and chat about ways to enjoy the harvest at home with others!




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Week of Summer 2015

Kicking off the Summer 2015 program!


Our crew is stoked to start Summer jobs on the FoodWhat Farm! Over the next few weeks, we'll develop our leadership skills, educate our communities about food justice, work in the fields to grow our own food, and work in the kitchen to get that food to our plates.


We've got a lot in store for this summer to accomplish all of these goals. 

Here's what it'll look like:
  • Always starting the day with an ice breaker to warm up
  • Working on the FoodWhat farm to grow our food
  • CSA harvest for our crew, families, and farm stands at Bayview Elementary School in Santa Cruz and Radcliff Elementary School in Watsonville
  • BLASTS! Heading out to various school gardens to bust out some big projects
  • Partnering with the Homeless Garden Project, People Power, Project ReGeneration and other amazing local nonprofits and activist
  • Working the production fields at Live Earth Farm
  • A Regional Bay Area Youth Summit at Pie Ranch as part of Rooted In Community
  • Sending 5 folks from our crew to Detroit for the national Rooted In Community youth conference
  • Leadership, empowerment, nutrition, and food justice workshops
  • Mind body awareness practices
  • Cooking and learning with guest chefs
Here are some photos from our first day of team building games and exercises:






Check in for weekly updates to see what we're up to!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Strawberry Blast

Last week 300 youth cruised out to the farm for our annual Strawberry Blast!


Food, What?! invited middle and high school students to our Strawberry Blast for a day of food justice and nutrition education here on our farm. Through workshops, games, and making our own food, we explored the realities of our food systems and the deliciousness of healthy eats. The day started with a stop at strawberry field, where youth handpicked their first strawberry of the day. As they picked, they learned some berry facts posted among the rows. After the colorful introduction, students were free to check out the many workshops the Strawberry Blast had to offer. 




Snacks were EVERYWHERE at the Strawberry Blast. Tawn from Bike Santa Cruz County came through with his famous bike-powered blender for youth to mix up some strawberry smoothies and get some pedaling in at the same time.




The Trace Your Taco workshop was a hit. We learned how many miles it takes to get a Taco Bell taco to our plates and experienced a day in the life of a cow that becomes the beef. Thinking about these processes made making our own tacos at home seem way more appealing.


The Banana Split table taught us the cost of our cheap bananas in the lives of farm workers who grow these everyday snacks. At the table over, Watsonville Wetland’s Watch educated us about respecting our wildlife and our land. 



Continuing the conversation about justice in the food system, we created a justice wall and talked about issues facing communities and the workers growing our food.


Youth loved joining in on the MAH’s (Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History) project “Subjects to Change” and creating custom hand-made pins. At the table over, we learned to grow our own food and took home lettuce plants to start our own gardens.



Over at the taco truck FoodWhat Alum Thairie taught us how to eat a rainbow for maximum nutrition. Veggie tacos topped with strawberry salsa proved how delicious eating a colorful diet can be. 



The Youth Dollar Power workshop taught us how to crack the codes of misleading nutrition labels on some of the most popular drinks. Turns out, most of them have way more sugar than we think! We measured how much sugar is actually in these multi-serving drinks and learned about some equally tasty alternatives to spend a dollar on.  


We played FoodWhat’s favorite game “Fast Food Jeopardy” to learn more about the nutrition, sanitation, and labor issues that the industry serves youth along with their meals every day.


For a sweet treat to top the day off and get a healthy fix of natural sugar, we chopped up fresh strawberries and served up some strawberry yogurt tarts.


We wrapped the day up as everyone continued exploring the farm, enjoying their berries, and chatting about food justice with their peers!