Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FOOD,WHAT?! March 23, 2011

Ezequiel, Gerardo, Francisco, Tiffany, Taylon, Paulino, Kevin, Salina, Oscar, Moises, and Carlos; FoodWhat 2011 interns from P.V. high school, Costanoa, Y.E.S, and Pacific Collegiate braved ominous clouds, chill wind, and gusts of rain to attend FoodWhat on Wednesday, March 23. This week we learned to transplant, bake cornbread, make stone soup, and speak confidently in public.
From Mar 23, 2011_1
After starting the day with an ice-breaker especially suited for the blustery day, “Where the wind blows,” we went to work in the greenhouse.
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As rain, then hail, then bright sun fell upon us, we transplanted succulents, lavender, marigold, artichoke and fox-glove.

We gently loosened the potted plants, flipped them over and caught them as they fell out of their containers. Then the plants were placed into new, larger containers.
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After working in the greenhouse, we went to the kitchen to prepare the day's meal. We learned how to read recipes and how to measure ingredients in teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups. Then we identified and prepared ingredients for stone soup.

We chopped kale, high in vitamins A and C, onions and cabbage, full of Vitamin C, and Winter Squash, a source of fiber. We also made cornbread batter with honey, corn meal, and Straus farms milk.
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While the cornbread baked, and the Stone Soup boiled, we collected in the garden for a workshop on public speaking. We identified traits to emulate; like speaking clearly and standing up straight, and traits to avoid, like fidgeting and looking at our feet.

One by one, we made a short speech about our favorite food or sandwich. We practiced speaking loudly and evenly, maintaining eye contact and keeping a straight face.

The day ended in golden light; the storm clouds scattered for the evening. We spent a few minutes making our first entries in hand-bound journals, which we will use until the end of the session.
From Mar 23, 2011_1

Then we warmed up with steaming-hot Stone Soup with crumbly, delicious, golden cornbread.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Food,What?! Spring Program Week 2

FoodWhat?! Interns from Coastanoa High School made herbal lip balm, learned how to re-pot plants, picked kale and made veggie quesadillas Thursday, March 17.
Ana, Dianna, Max and Max, Jacques, Andy, Irma, Joan, and Salvador started the day by pairing up and linking body parts; elbows, knees, hips,and toes, and asked each other questions provided by Doron.
After the ice breaker the group went the kitchen to make an herbal salve. They mixed lavender, calendula, yarrow, beeswax and plantain leaves with olive oil in an old coffee carafe. The carafe was placed in a shallow pot of water, and left to boil under Abby's watch.
The interns went to the greenhouse to learned to repot plants that had outgrown their containers.
They carefully turned the pots over, let the plant drop out, then loosened the root ball and set the plant into a container with potting soil. They filled two flat wagons full of rosemary, sage, and coastal grass, safe in new homes.
Then Doron led the group out into the glaring midday sun to pick Kale from the CASFS fields. The kale stood in a long thickly leafed green-red row. Each student picked a few leaves a piece, and brought them back to the kitchen.
The interns assembled in the garden-shade to escape the sun and play Fast Food Jeopardy. They split up into team Nature Swag, and team Star, and answered questions about the fast-food industry and practices.
The questions were tough and the answers were shocking: It takes 6 hours to walk off the calories in a double quarter-pounder with cheese. And only ten cents goes to a farmer out of the $3.50 spent on an order of fast food fries.
After the game, evening approaching, the Interns made a rush at the sinks to scrub their hands before cooking supper. They chopped and stir-fried carrot, onion, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and garlic.
When the veggies were golden brown the students threw tortillas onto a hot plate with cheese. The veggies were spread on top of the tortillas, with salsa made by FoodWhat 2010. We all chowed down.

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Interns from Coastanoa stood back to back during the ice-breaker.

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The group crushed herbs into a carafe for the salve.

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Andy added olive oil to the mix. (from left to right; Dianna, Irma, Andy, Ana, Max, Max, and Abby)

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Max grates beeswax into the salve.

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The salve-to-be, boiling.

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Jacques strained the herbs and oil through a cheesecloth.

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The group gathered to make veggie tacos. (visible from left to right; Jacques, Joan, Dianna, Irma, Abby, Max and Max)

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Max and Ana handled the stir frying.(left to right; Max, Ana, Salvador)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food, What?! Spring 2011 Begins

The first day of “Food,What?!” 2011 Spring session, oranges flew through golden afternoon light. Nine new interns, Koa, Jose , Sylvia, Nick, Zack, Edwin, Alyca, Maribel, and Steven; students from Highlands and Star high schools, called out each-other's names as they tossed the fruits back and forth. FoodWhat?! Director Doron Comerchero and Program Manager Abby Bell led the students through the day's activities.

The students toured the grounds of the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, collected medicinal plants for making a salve, and learned of their responsibilities as Food,What?! interns.

The group identifies Calendula, a wild flower with anti-septic properties . Students picked leaves of Plantain, a weed that helps cure itching from bug bites and bee stings to use in a salve later.

After touring the farm, the group gathered under a cool shaded tent for a team building exercise. The group discussed ways to co-operate and make a friendly work environment.

Then the interns collected forks, pitch forks, shovels and wheelbarrows to build a compost pile. They layered dried plant matter and dirt until the mound was waist high. A tarp was stretched over the heap, and it was left to decompose.

Sweaty, tired, and laughing, the Highlands and Star interns cleaned the garden tools and washed their hands. As the sun set they made a smoothie with frozen strawberries from the farm from last season and fresh milk from Straus Creamery; it was ice cold, sour-sweet, and rich with cream.

From left to right; Steven, Sylvia, Maribel, Alyca, Jose. The group mixed smoothies as the day came to a close. Nick(left) Edwin(center) Steven(right) Sylvia(far right)