The Photo-of-the-Month shares a moment, highlight, or story to offer connection to the experiences at "Food, What?!"
december: Really moving award received Sunday night
FoodWhat honored to receive the 2018 Santa Cruz Community Farmers' Markets Partnership Award.
"In recognition of your contributions to the regional agricultural community, the youth of Santa Cruz County and justice work at large, we offer you this award. The Farmers' Markets and FoodWhat?! first partnered in 2012, employing local youth in food systems positions and supporting them in their personal and professional development. Today we acknowledge and celebrate the transformation that takes place for youth in your programs. The graduates we hire from FoodWhat?! are wise beyond their age and demonstrate a unique focus on teamwork, honesty, kindness, connection and generosity. By listening to youth and integrating their ideas and experience, your programs stay relevant and addresses substantial inequities in our communities. Such reflection and accountability are rare."
November: Just gratitude (and a short story from last week)
Last week we held our "GivingThanks" dinner with this year's crew. After an incredibly delicious and wholesome meal, we went around the long table with each of us offering what we're grateful for. One alumni shared "I'm thankful for this food and that I have a place to come back to no matter how long it's been."
May you always have a safe, meaningful, and nourishing place to turn to in your life and in this time.
With love and appreciation,
Doron, Kayla, Moriah, Irene, Bruno, Mary, Uriel, Puiyee and the FoodWhat Crew!
october: Something amazing happened in the earth today...
Something really awesome happened this morning. FoodWhat hosted our annual Harvest Festival for a few hundred countywide students as we do each fall. We always set up a strong set of experiential, educational, and food-based stations for participants to dive into after they get to harvest pumpkins. This year, a number of youth spotted the UCSC Farm flowers in the field behind our event and went over to harvest a few to make bouquets. The UCSC folks gave us the green light and FoodWhat staff started inviting youth to go make bouquets if they'd like. While they were harvesting flowers (and making some strikingly gorgeous bouquets), some started picking leaves of spinach or digging up carrots to eat on the spot. Then a group of youth headed to the FoodWhat field and began harvesting our abundance of tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, more pumpkins...so we invited all participants and teachers to do so. These young people and educators connected organically, on their own terms, and with great joy, in pulling bounty, beauty and nourishment right out of the soil...and on the heels of yesterday's momentous sugar rush. None of this was planned. It was really something to see youth boarding their busses with armfuls of flowers and backpacks filled with veggies that they just harvested.
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!)
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...
(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
Pure Joy at the FoodWhat Farm Olympics!
Teamwork makes the dream work!
june: Spring Internship
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
FoodWhat Staff Highlight!
May: Mason (FoodWhat Youth Staff) Receives 2018 Queer Youth Leadership Award
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
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!
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
Check out previous years' POTM below!