The Photo-of-the-Month shares a moment, highlight, or story to offer connection to the experiences at "Food, What?!"

September: Goodbye, Summer

Summing up the Summer...

The FoodWhat Summer Job Training Program is when youth dive into critical job training, build deep and supportive community, radically change their diet, and push into their strongest selves. All this growth and change happens through the most basic of human needs--food! 

(Check out some of our favorite highlights from an unforgettable season!)

 We start off two mornings each week of the Summer Job with a game. Whether new ones, or classics like Capture the Flag, we begin each day this way not only to wake up and build community, but also to allow the youth who have had to take on adult responsibilities the opportunity to steep in the joy of play!

We start off two mornings each week of the Summer Job with a game. Whether new ones, or classics like Capture the Flag, we begin each day this way not only to wake up and build community, but also to allow the youth who have had to take on adult responsibilities the opportunity to steep in the joy of play!

  Junior Staff Aurelio dishing up lunch with Guest Chef Martin Madriz from The Green Waffle!   Each week, half the crew got to work with professional chefs from Watsonville to Santa Cruz to make an outstanding lunch for the other half of the crew.

Junior Staff Aurelio dishing up lunch with Guest Chef Martin Madriz from The Green Waffle!

Each week, half the crew got to work with professional chefs from Watsonville to Santa Cruz to make an outstanding lunch for the other half of the crew.

 Repping Santa Cruz County and the FoodWhat Crew at our regional youth empowerment and food justice summit in July!

Repping Santa Cruz County and the FoodWhat Crew at our regional youth empowerment and food justice summit in July!

 Harvesting the bounty. Pride in work. Nourishing selves, family, and community.

Harvesting the bounty. Pride in work. Nourishing selves, family, and community.

 Who said hard hard work can't be full of laughter and smiles?

Who said hard hard work can't be full of laughter and smiles?

 Aurelio offering heartfelt gratitude to Programs Manager, Irene, for her immense support and contributions to his journey of growth and discovery of self.

Aurelio offering heartfelt gratitude to Programs Manager, Irene, for her immense support and contributions to his journey of growth and discovery of self.

When the end of the Summer Job arrived, we celebrated the way we know best--by making a delicious dinner for over 100 friends and families of the youth who successfully completed this big endeavor. The night was filled with sharing appreciations for each other and all who made the Summer Program what it was.  


july: true love on the farm...

BEAUTIFUL BOUNTY

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(Melanie holding her Family CSA share.)  
Each week this summer, every youth in the Summer Job harvested a big bountiful share of produce they have been growing all season to take home and share with their family.  One way youth connect the radical diet change they experience on the farm into the rest of their lives.


june: Happy First Day of Summer + Olympic Highlights

Hello Summer!

Pure Joy at the FoodWhat Farm Olympics!

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Teamwork makes the dream work! 

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 One week left of voting at New Leaf Community Markets to select the next round of nonprofits to receive benefits from their Envirotoken Program. Visit your local New Leaf and cast your vote for FoodWhat today!  Whenever you bring your own grocery bag at New Leaf, you’ll receive a 10¢ Envirotoken, which you can donate to one of six local nonprofits. Each month, they tally up the tokens, convert them into cash, and present them to the beneficiaries. FoodWhat is currently an Envirotoken option in the Downtown, Westside, and Capitola storesAND in the running to be in the next group of recipients!   Voting Ends June 30th!

One week left of voting at New Leaf Community Markets to select the next round of nonprofits to receive benefits from their Envirotoken Program. Visit your local New Leaf and cast your vote for FoodWhat today!

Whenever you bring your own grocery bag at New Leaf, you’ll receive a 10¢ Envirotoken, which you can donate to one of six local nonprofits. Each month, they tally up the tokens, convert them into cash, and present them to the beneficiaries. FoodWhat is currently an Envirotoken option in the Downtown, Westside, and Capitola storesAND in the running to be in the next group of recipients!

Voting Ends June 30th!


june: Spring Internship
Wrap-up!

 The FoodWhat?! Spring Internship has come to a close, and we are excited to share some highlights with you! Here's what the youth had to say:  "My favorite memory at FoodWhat would have to be when we made stone soup, because I feel like that dish itself brings people together and I remember that day that everybody was in the kitchen doing something. Even though Kevin said he hadn't washed his hands and it grossed me out, the soup was still good."     -Melanie, Tuesday Crew, Costanoa High School, Santa Cruz

The FoodWhat?! Spring Internship has come to a close, and we are excited to share some highlights with you! Here's what the youth had to say:

"My favorite memory at FoodWhat would have to be when we made stone soup, because I feel like that dish itself brings people together and I remember that day that everybody was in the kitchen doing something. Even though Kevin said he hadn't washed his hands and it grossed me out, the soup was still good."   

-Melanie, Tuesday Crew, Costanoa High School, Santa Cruz

 "My favorite memory was creating the beds of soil out on the land and eating those sweet, juicy red strawberries."                              -Alliah, Sequoia HS, Watsonville  "My favorite memory from FoodWhat was every time we would cook together and help each other and teach each other new things."                                 -Lupita, Watsonville HS

"My favorite memory was creating the beds of soil out on the land and eating those sweet, juicy red strawberries."  
                           -Alliah, Sequoia HS, Watsonville

"My favorite memory from FoodWhat was every time we would cook together and help each other and teach each other new things."                                 -Lupita, Watsonville HS

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Youth responses to the question "How would you explain FoodWhat to a friend?"  

"It is a program that helps young people to focus on positive things. The farm, new plants, cooking and enjoying each other's company, and how we are respectful with each other." - Carlos

"I would tell them if you see a program and a team called FoodWhat, join it, because it's a lot of fun! You learn a lot about organic foods, you cook, and get an awesome experience." - Apolinar

 High Five to that! We're excited to continue to work with many of these youth in our Summer Job Training Program which just started this week!

High Five to that! We're excited to continue to work with many of these youth in our Summer Job Training Program which just started this week!

FoodWhat Staff Highlight!

 FoodWhat staff Kayla, Bruno, Irene and Moriah showing up strong at Greenlining Institute's 25th Annual Summit for Economic Justice in Oakland!

FoodWhat staff Kayla, Bruno, Irene and Moriah showing up strong at Greenlining Institute's 25th Annual Summit for Economic Justice in Oakland!

 Programs Manager Irene Juarez O'Connell accepting an award on behalf of FoodWhat from the Watsonville Chapter of the Future Farmers of America at their awards banquet at Watsonville High School last month. 

Programs Manager Irene Juarez O'Connell accepting an award on behalf of FoodWhat from the Watsonville Chapter of the Future Farmers of America at their awards banquet at Watsonville High School last month. 


May: Mason (FoodWhat Youth Staff) Receives 2018 Queer Youth Leadership Award

  Congratulations, Mason!   (This is Mason. Mason uses "they/them" pronouns.)   FoodWhat Event Planner and Community Educator, Mason Franco, just received a 2018 Queer Youth Leadership Award (QYLA)! Mason won this award for their work at the intersection of gender and food justice. The QYLA is a one-of-a-kind event and significant recognition of four powerful and change-making countywide youth leaders. 

Congratulations, Mason!

(This is Mason. Mason uses "they/them" pronouns.)

FoodWhat Event Planner and Community Educator, Mason Franco, just received a 2018 Queer Youth Leadership Award (QYLA)! Mason won this award for their work at the intersection of gender and food justice. The QYLA is a one-of-a-kind event and significant recognition of four powerful and change-making countywide youth leaders. 

 Mason gave a moving and inspiring speech to the packed crowd at the award night.  "Food is what gives our bodies the nutrients to live another day. Thank you for all who have given their heart through food, and I will continue to do the same. " -Mason Franco

Mason gave a moving and inspiring speech to the packed crowd at the award night.

"Food is what gives our bodies the nutrients to live another day. Thank you for all who have given their heart through food, and I will continue to do the same. "
-Mason Franco

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Mason and their many achievements, including this award and their work with FoodWhat, was a recent Santa Cruz Sentinel cover story. Here is a snippet:


Q: Food What?! is what you're known for. Tell me about your work there.

A: I did a summer job (there) and it changed my life. I went to conferences all over and got inspired to get more involved with food justice work. Now I’ve done workshops all over the county teaching about nutrition and the fast food industry and how messed up that is.
 
Check out the full article HERE!


april: Junior Staff as National Organizer in D.C.  Introducing...

Powerful youth voice

  FoodWhat Jr. Staff, Aurelio Vargas, traveled from Watsonville to Washington D.C last month to join the national youth-led movement,  United We Dream , to protect DACA recipients and advocate for a clear path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants living in the U.S.  Aurelio was part of the actions that happened in front of the White House in early March.  Here are Aurelio's reflections:       “The actions in D.C. brought out a lot of emotions. When we were chanting, It felt really powerful and healing to be out there. There are some things that are hard to think about at home, like the possibility of deportation and being separated from my family. When I was over there I saw how real that was for so many. We shared our stories with each other and built community. I felt liberated. It felt good to express my emotions and have them be part of something bigger.”      (For more information about the Santa Cruz Dreamers Project, email   santacruzdreamers@gmail.com )

FoodWhat Jr. Staff, Aurelio Vargas, traveled from Watsonville to Washington D.C last month to join the national youth-led movement, United We Dream, to protect DACA recipients and advocate for a clear path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants living in the U.S.  Aurelio was part of the actions that happened in front of the White House in early March.  Here are Aurelio's reflections:
 

“The actions in D.C. brought out a lot of emotions. When we were chanting, It felt really powerful and healing to be out there. There are some things that are hard to think about at home, like the possibility of deportation and being separated from my family. When I was over there I saw how real that was for so many. We shared our stories with each other and built community. I felt liberated. It felt good to express my emotions and have them be part of something bigger.”


(For more information about the Santa Cruz Dreamers Project, email
santacruzdreamers@gmail.com)

Junior Staff and Event Planners Going Strong!

Junior Staff = superstar youth who went through FoodWhat's Spring, Summer, and Fall programming last year and are now coming back in peer-to-peer leadership roles with the new crew. It is our great pleasure to introduce you to (above, left to right) Evelyn, Ozzy, Eustolia, Iris and Aurelio!  

 Mason & Isabel

Mason & Isabel

 Abi

Abi

In 4 short weeks, FoodWhat will be hosting 300 middle and high schoolers from across the county to our Santa Cruz Farm for a jam packed day filled with youth-led workshops on nutrition and food justice, partner stations on everything from hydration to going to college, and hands-on activities from harvesting to bike powered smoothies to making pies.  This inspiring and educational day revolves around the red, ripe, delicious strawberry.  2017 alums, Mason, Isabel, and Abi are leading the charge of every aspect of planning and implementing this big day!


march: "I don't like kale at all, but this is good!" 

Here we go!
2018 Spring Internship Start

 (Early March)  Just launched our 2018 Spring Internship with 5 crews of super energized youth from South and North County schools!

(Early March) 
Just launched our 2018 Spring Internship with 5 crews of super energized youth from South and North County schools!

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 Chef Zhane (top left) shared as part of her "triumph" at the end of the day: "I don't like kale at all, but this is good!"

Chef Zhane (top left) shared as part of her "triumph" at the end of the day: "I don't like kale at all, but this is good!"

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 We had a strong start of programming for this year with an impressive collection of young folks. They got their hands dirty on the farm, made tasty food with each other, got to know the place, and collectively set the tone for the next few months. As we look forward to working with them this season, we look forward to sharing with you, so stay tuned!  

We had a strong start of programming for this year with an impressive collection of young folks. They got their hands dirty on the farm, made tasty food with each other, got to know the place, and collectively set the tone for the next few months. As we look forward to working with them this season, we look forward to sharing with you, so stay tuned!  


Check out previous years' POTM below!

2017