This week we visited Freewheelin Farms, a community-supported organic farm, 5 miles north of town on Highway 1. The industrious, Freewheelin farmers Kirstin, Darryl, and Amy haul hundreds of pounds of produce by bicycle from their field to homes and markets in Santa Cruz. They welcomed us with smiles and gave the group a task for the day, clearing weeds from a long tangled hedgerow at edge of the fields.
We used hula hoes to cut the roots of weeds out of the ground. The row was made up of native grasses, bushes and ground cover. In a few years it will be grown large enough to block out the wind, and provide habitat for native insects and birds.
Native birds and insects help control unwanted farm pests, without the use of pesticides. Similarly, the hedgerow can outcompete weeds, without herbicides. We had to weed with simple tools and our hands, but the work was finished while the sun was still low.
We walked to the north end of the fields, where Food,What?! had several rows to plant with squash and pumpkin. In the fall we will host our annual Harvest Festival at FoodWhat; interns have been planting pumpkin seeds in preparation all week. We broke into groups and planted winter squash, and a mix of different pumpkin types, petite to gargantuan. The winter squash is intended for a tamale business in the fall.
When the seeds were snug in the oil, Doron led the group into a comfy yurt to discuss advertisement, and marketing to teens. Companies brand their products; create and image and feeling about it through t.v. and print ads. Brands are aimed directly at teens and kids; The Nike Air Jordan ad campaign in the Bronx in the 1980's, for example, was so successful that people robbed and even murdered to get the shoes. Ironically, Nike was targeting young consumers while producing its shoes with sweat shop and child labor.
Food and Clothing Company's use celebrity figures, sex, fame and fortune in their ads to sell products to teens, at the cost of 12 billion dollars a year. The profits made by the nations top advertisers was 175 Billion in 2004.
We can respond by choosing to not buy from companies that use cheap ploys and exploitive images to get our attention.
The group made a quick pesto pasta to close the day. Interns went off one at a time to interview for the summer Food,What?! Program. The rotating cooking staff cut kale, carrots, onion, cabbage and garlic for the pasta. The noodles boiled while the ingredients were sauteed. The veggies were tossed onto the pasta, and pesto from last year's food,what?! mixed in. It was a little spicy, and hot as the morning sun.