Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Food What Fall Leadership Program

Each fall, participants who have successfully completed the FoodWhat Summer Job Program apply to take leadership in managing one of the FoodWhat businesses. They go through an initial training for their job and then become the youth manager or co-managers for that business. Meet this year's crew:

Farm and CSA Management
Steven and Sam come to the farm every Monday to take care of all the farm needs -weeding, planting, trellising peas, prepping the farm for the winter, etc.

On Tuesdays they harvest, wash, and pack 10 CSA shares for low-income families and a day care center. Each bag holds eight to ten of the following crops we are growing: beets, carrots, onions, leeks, squash, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, apples, beans, chard, kale, basil, radishes and more. Tawna, a UCSC intern, then loads the vegetable bags onto a bike trailer and delivers the shares to the families. Each bag is valued at $20 to $25 and is sold for $10 to help meet our goal of making healthy and fresh food accessible to all.

Flower Business Management

Mason and Jacques manage the flower business. Twice a week they harvest flowers and make bouquets to be sold to local businesses around town. You can find our flowers decorating The Filling Station, The Penny Ice Creamery, The Picnic Basket, Gabriella Cafe, Cafe Delmarette, Companion Bakeshop, and the Maple Street Clinic. We also sell bouquets at our farm stand at Gault Elementary School.
Many thanks to these businesses for supporting our program and the youth!

Each summer we plant sunflowers for a U-PICK Sunflower fundraiser at the UCSC Harvest Festival. Every year we try to time the planting perfectly (and hope for the ideal weather) so that the flowers bloom on the weekend of the festival. This year it worked and we sold over 200 sunflowers!


Farm Stand Management

Angel and Salvador co-manage our farm stand at Gault Elementary School. We partner with the Santa Cruz Ed Foundation, Freewheelin' Farm, UCSC Farm and Garden, and Happy Boy Farm to bring local organic produce to the parents and teachers of Gault at an affordable (subsidized) price. This year we were even able to accept EBT. Each week, Angel and Sal set up the stand, handle all of the sales, clean up, and do the accounting. Among many other skills, they are getting real job experience and training in customer service and money handling--skills that will serve them in future jobs.

Culinary Arts

Kayla and Irma are the Culinary Arts Team. They prepare meals for Life Lab's adult workshop participants, were the primary youth chefs for our Benefit Dinner: Harvesting Justice serving over 150 people, and they preserve our harvest by canning salsa, pesto, and tomato sauce for next season. They also helped to pilot our new Granola business! You can now find Food, What?! Granola at The Filling Station!

This fall Kayla also led a cooking workshop for other youth at the Walnut Avenue Woman's Center, showing them how to make tasty veggie quesadillas using whole grains and farm fresh veggies.

BLASTS! (School Garden Support)
Each week Edgar, Josh, Sal, and Irma go to a school garden or community center garden and bust out a big work project to support their garden. This fall we "Blasted" at Green Acres Elementary, Westlake Elementary, Bonny Doon Elementary, Gault Elementary, and Mesa Verde Community Garden. We moved compost bins, planted fruit trees, pulled out invasive grasses, painted trellises, dug beds, and cleared large areas of land for new garden beds to be built and for gardens to expand. The work we are offering these sites supports the education of youth and adults not only about food and nutrition, but also about math, science, history, observation, critical thinking and more.

Harvest Festival Planning and Management
This fall, as the youth event manager, Max planned and implemented the FoodWhat Harvest Festival. Starting from visioning the event to figuring out the details of getting the word out, arranging volunteers, organizing supplies for each station, making maps, setting up each station, talking to press, Max learned all it takes to put on a major event. As a result of Max's hard work and dedication, the event was a huge success. Click here to learn more about the event.

Max and Edgar harvesting pumpkins for the event for the pumpkin carving station. Each participant at the Harvest Fest gets to take home a pumpkin.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 November Photo-of-the-Month (GoodTimes Community Fund Recipient!)

Please join Max (left photo) and Edgar (right) in celebrating some great news!  FoodWhat was selected as one of four Good Times Community Fund honorees!  This year's fund was created to raise awareness of, and support for, local organizations that help youth through offering educational, leadership and career opportunities.

View the Good Times Community Fund Video about "Food,What?!"

We get this exciting news as the farm is being put to rest for the winter and cover crop sown.  Our Fall Youth Managers have all wrapped up their projects (Flower Business, Gault Farm Stand, Beach Flats CSA, Catering, School Garden BLASTS!, and Fall Harvest Festival) and have completed a full cycle of programming with FoodWhat.  (Many have already started to lobby for their friends to get positions in the Spring Internship.)  There is a collective sense of accomplishment and tons of great stories.

We have the goal to raise $12,500 through the Good Times Community Fund.  Right now, every dollar donated will be matched.  Please Consider a Year-End Donation to Keep FoodWhat Going and Growing in 2012!  Every bit counts--from $10 to $10,000--each contribution will keep us strong and supports local youth!

Click here to read the article about FoodWhat and the fund in the Good Times.

Click here to make a donation directly to help us reach our goal.  (Note--to receive the matching grant, all donations need to go to the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County with FoodWhat noted as the recipient.)

with gratitude,
Doron, Abby, and the FoodWhat Youth Crew!

(Thank you to the Good Times, the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for this awesome opportunity.)

Click here for more posts of the Photo-of-the-Month

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