Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ABEL is fearuted in the Santa Cruz GOOD TIMES

2010 FoodWhat participant, Abel Johns is featured in the cover story of the Santa Cruz Weekly newspaper, The Good Times, as an important local teen leader and asset to the community! And yes he is! Read the article below

Abel says in the article:
"I remember being really small and not liking vegetables very much, but maybe I didn’t like them because I never had them,” Abel says. “It’s really important that low-income families and poor neighborhoods can have easily accessible organic food.” He adds, “You do organic farming because it’s great for the soil and everything around it. I also do organic farming for my community. If people have the opportunity, they will eat better and be healthier and have a healthy state of mind. And that in itself can help you with so many different problems within your life.”

Through his involvement with Food, What?!, Abel has harvested CSA produce for families living in the low-income Beach Flats community of Santa Cruz, has become a well-trained chef and caterer, and has helped to maintain gardens in local schools. He recently represented Santa Cruz County at the Rooted in Community National Conference in North Carolina this July and at the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael this October.

For a kid who says he was so devastatingly shy that he couldn’t even talk to anyone when he first came to Santa Cruz as a seventh grader, Abel has come a long way as a proponent of food justice—and he only plans to go further. “What usually motivates me is that things make me sad at first,” he explains, “then I try to think of different ways that I can help, and then I actually start talking to people to see what I can do. Then I get into it, and I just try to do as much as I can.” Read the full article here

Monday, November 15, 2010

Annual Harvest Festival 2010

The apple pie making station had everyone's mouth watering. Natasha and crew shoveled stewed apples onto little handmade pie crust for all the passing youth.

Many more apples were consumed at the Apple Tasting table.

Youth got to taste a few of the uncommon varieties. Tangy, crunchy, juicy wildly delicious tasting! Cameo, braeburns and jonagolds just to name a few...

Even more apples were devoured at the Cider Pressing Station. Gallons of sweet juice were poured for participants. They loved it up!

Over in the kitchen the Pizza crew worked fast and hard to pump out pizzas made to order!

Hungry customers decided on the most exciting toppings.
Eggplant? Olives? Farm Fresh Peppers? Caramelized Onions?

Intern Gabby manned the Bee Station. No one left without a Honey Tasting and some knowledge to drop on their friends. Did you know bees can dance?

Over at the Chicken Coop youth checked in on Olive and Sunshine and found out why they are so beneficial to the garden. It is a great farm because of our feathery friends.

Some chose to pick up a pumpkin at the Pumpkin Patch and bring it over to the Pumpkin Carving Station to get messy and creative!

Popcorn proved popular. Many got to remove the kernels from the corn cob and make a great snack with the many seasonings.
Some as new as Lavender Salt!

Connecting Food Justice to our community, the board shows, this crew knows what's up!
Farmers Markets are the best..You dig?

Even HotDog and Banana showed up for the festival, with mustard and all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

FOOD, WHAT?! is in the GOOD TIMES!

The Youth Crew at Food, What?! mixes farming-based curricula with personal, business, community and networking skills

Since 1979 Santa Cruz’s nonprofit Life Lab organization has built a fine boutique of garden-based curriculum. Children around the country learn hands-on science in the fresh air of their school gardens. At the Garden Classroom at UC Santa Cruz, kids learn about nature, weather, and decomposition, while teacher-training classes offer graduate credits. And three years ago Food, What?! was born as a high school youth empowerment program.

Each fall and spring, students begin a 12-week internship on the UCSC farm employing organic and sustainable methods. They plant flowers and learn to grow and cook potatoes, vegetables, and even grain, which they harvest, thresh, winnow and grind into flour. In the summer program they work for a paycheck on their own farm as well as others such as Freewheelin’ Farm, sometimes making bicycle deliveries to CSA drop-offs. They also perform volunteer gardening at local schools.

At Life Lab's 31st anniversary, GT spoke with Brandon McBride, a Junior Staff Member at Food, What?!

“Working in the soil and learning where your food comes from,” McBride said, “you get a sense of where man began, creating food instead of mass producing it.” View full story

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CSA and Farm Managers

Blaze, Jazz and Natasha run the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business. They harvest fresh produce from the Food What fields, prepare and bag it to be delivered to low income community members in the Santa Cruz Beach Flats.

"As farm and CSA Managers we are in charge of taking care of the plants from seeds to harvest. My favorite part of the job is learning about farm management. Someday I want to own my own organic farm, and I like knowing where my food comes from." -Blaze

After a days work, Jazz says, "my soul is cleared out and I always leave happier than I arrive".
We are gaining unexpected skills through this job that will help us in life like clear communication.

FoodWhat Flower Business Managers

Geoleal and Diego run our flower business. Each week they harvest flowers and arrange bouquets for local businesses downtown like Cafe Delmarette, Laili Restaurant, Penny Ice Creamery, Next Space and the Gault Farm Stand.


Geoleal and Diego
"We are responsible for taking care of the flowers by making bouquets and dead heading the old ones so more can grow. I like working with the flowers and seeing them at the businesses. Cutting flowers is a stress release and making bouquets is inspiring. I always admire the finished product; it is beautiful." -Diego, FoodWhat Flower Business Manager

As part of the flower business we grew hundreds of sunflowers and sold them as a U-Pick at the UCSC Farm Harvest festival. It was fun to see little kids running around with flowers as bid as their heads!

Culinary Arts Crew

During Abel and CC's job they create a beautiful farm fresh taco bar lunch for a group of CASFS funders. They are the culinary arts leadership team who cook healthy lunches for Life Lab workshop participants.

Abel says, "I'm learning to clean as I go and which food to cook in what order so that I can get it all done." He adds that he's gaining "a better sense of [him]self" through his job.
When CC is asked about what he thinks his favorite part is he exclaims, "Just the people, I wouldn't be able to work without the people I work with."

As part of their Job, CC and Abel teach other teens to cook delicious meals with vegetables. They partnered with Girls' Space of the Walnut Avenue Woman's Center to make farm fresh veggie quesadillas --a FoodWhat favorite!


Patrick and Jose work hard as a members of the "Blast" crew to help local school gardens maintain or start a garden.

"We clear brush, work with tools and meet new people and my best moment so far was clearing the garden at B40 Middle School. I like to work in the rain and we finish in two hours"-Jose, "Food, What?!" Blast Crew

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brower Youth Awards

We took a field trip to San Francisco for the annual Brower Youth Awards --an award ceremony, in the name of David Brower, honoring six young environmental leaders who are working to make an impact in their communities and for the planet.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Seven of us ventured to the Bioneers conference in Marin for 4 days of inspiring and life-changing workshops, presentations, speakers and activities.

The first day we partnered up with Veggielution, Farm Fresh Choice, the Growing Youth Project, and the Marin Youth Center for the Just Us for Food Justice pre-conference where we dialogued and artistically expressed our relationship to Healing and Traditional Foods. Then we met farmers selling at the Marin farmer's market and finished the day by cooking a delicious meal for ourselves and the cancer patients through the Ceres Project.

Here is what some of the youth had to say about the conference:
"My time spent at the 2010 Bioneers Conference is an experience I would trade with no other. The motivation and drive that everyone there had to do what was right was moving. Between Mary Gonzales' presentation and the 'Ring the Bell Campaign', I am fully motivated to organize my community. In the Socially Responsible Herbal Medicine workshop I learned a lot about the economic as well as social struggle that medicinal herbs have on the market. The Youth Unity Tent was RAD!... overall Bioneers helped me have hope for our communities and the people in them. We just have to educate and motivate!" -CC

"It was inspiring to be with so many people for the weekend that really want to change the world and make it a better place for us and out future children. There were many speeches that stood out to me and really made me think. Alec Loorz's speech mane me realize that every generation really does need a revolution. If each generation choose one thing to stand up and fight to change, within 20 or 30 years we will have a much better planet to live on. If one day we all decided to change one thing we do, it could make a huge difference. For example, after the oil spill in the San Francisco Bay in 1971, John Francis decided not to use motorized vehicles. That one simple choice led him to walk the U.S. from coast to coast and take a vow of silence for 17 years. He began to change how people thought. That's all it takes, one decision to better the earth, led to a whole movement." -Josh

At the end of each day we told stories around a camp fire and rested our tired and inspired heads at China Camp

(Top to bottom, L to R) Abel, Josh, Geoleal, Carina, Abby, CC, Jazz

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gault Farm Stand with Josh & Natasha

Josh and Natasha run the Farm Stand at Gault Elementary on Wednesday. We sell high quality organic produce at low cost with the intention of increasing access to good food for the local community as well as attempting to connect what children learn in school about healthy eating and what they eat at home. We partner with the UCSC Farm, Happy Boy Farms, and FreeWheelin' Farm to provide food at the stand. On most days we sell out of the produce, and many families go home with armfuls of fresh veggies.

Natasha says she likes, "interacting with the people, the people are interesting" and Josh likes "seeing all the little kids going home stoked on veggies". They both agree that they're gaining math and communication skills from running the farm stand.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Annual 2010 Food What Benefit

Our benefit was a hit!
We set beautiful tables for the amazing 100 person meal we created with produce we grew and harvested!

On the menu:

Apple and Beet with Gail's Garden Goat Cheese
Roasted Veggie Kabobs
Amazing Bread Salad with Fresh Food What Tomatoes, Basil and Onions
Creamy Polenta and Food What Tomato Sauce

Tables of our supporters came to celebrate our hard work. They said cheers and enjoyed meeting eachother over a good meal.

Familiar faces from Freewheelin' Farm and friends.

Some of us like Malik, Jose, and Patrick (even Carol from one of our teachers from Natural Bridges High School!) stood to speak about how Food What is changing our lives.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

End of the Summer Dinner

We prepared for our end of the summer dinner that day. We cooked lasagna, string beans, salad from the Freewheelin Farm, and apple crisp for dessert!

Align Left

We set all the tables with flowers from our garden and when we showed up with our parents, family, and friends every one was so excited to be there!

During dinner we gave dedications to all of the people who helped make our summer the awesome experience that it was!

Then after dinner we watched a slide show with pictures from the whole summer...

While we watched Patrick played guitar for us

Then Doron thanked all of our families and friends for their support, all of our help at the Food What farm this summer, and for the amazing experience we had!

We got our Food What cook books...

Hi-Fives for all of our families and friends!

Thank you all for coming to our dinner and for all of your support!