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