Friday, March 30, 2012

2012 March Photo-of-the-Month

Week 1 -- 2012 FoodWhat Spring Internship.
Abby and I are happy to announce the new crew is in full effect.  We hired on almost 60 youthfor our Spring Internship this year!  We started the first week in March.  Above, you can share smiles with Maria, Cesar (leading the crew in cooking), Carlos, and Jose...four Harbor High School students enjoying their first (of many) hours putting together tasty, healthy food in the FoodWhat kitchen.

Stay tuned....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Week Three at "FoodWhat?!"

It's week three of the spring program here at FoodWhat?!
We began this week with a group bonding game called “All Aboard”. After dividing into groups of three and four, Doron gave the youth requirements of how many hands and feet must remain on the card board “island” at once.  This produced some pretty impressive collaboration, contorting, and smiles all around!

 Next we learned some of the ins and outs a common grain: rice!  Abby explained how brown rice is less processed than white rice and therefore is still full of crucial vitamins that white rice lacks. We proceeded to use the standard ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup rice to cook up some brown rice for our meal later on. 

While the rice simmered away, we gathered in the warmth of the greenhouse to learn about seed propagation. We learned why some plants, like root crops, grow better outdoors, while a greenhouse provides a controlled environment and protection for other seedlings to grow more quickly. We then got to plant our own sunflower seedlings making sure to plant two seeds twice as deep as the seed is long.  


 Afterwards we grabbed spades and headed to the apple trees in order to “skim” the weeds growing around the Jonagold trees. 

When we were finished skimming and weeding, Abby lead us in an awesome nutrition workshop called “Eat a Rainbow”!  We learned the importance of consuming a range of colors in order to get the proper balance of vitamins and nutrients from our food.  For example, red foods are good for the brain and heart while green foods are great for our digestive tracks, teeth and bones.

By this point the brown rice was ready so we gathered in the kitchen to chop a rainbow of veggies to fry up with the rice.  We all worked together to chop up and sauté chard, carrots, onions, broccoli and many more vegetables found on the farm.  The fried rice turned out to be delicious! 


We concluded the day by writing letters to ourselves that will be opened at the end of the program. Abby handed out our weekly journals and everyone shared their weeks triumphs.  Between the fieldwork, planting seeds and weeding, the cooking, and the new nutritional knowledge, everybody had put in a hard day’s work! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week Two at "Food, What?!"

It's Week Two at FoodWhat! 

This week we met under a tent and kept dry from the morning rain. The group began with an ice breaker called Toe-to-Toe, where we learned fun facts about each other. Now we know what kind of pet everyone would want to be!

After the ice breaker, we started the process of making salves from the herbs we collected the previous week! We broke up the herbs into tiny pieces, added olive oil and vitamin E oil to the herbs and double-boiled the mixture for approximately forty-five minutes. 

While the salve mixture was boiling, everyone went to the one of the green houses to learn about "potting up," which involves moving young plants into bigger pots to give their roots room to grow and for more nutrient uptake. After group leader Doron explained the process and the importance of labeling young plants, we got plenty of practice ourselves!

After transferring the plants, we gathered to finish making the salve and decorated our own salve containers! Then Doron led the group in a game of Fast Food Jeopardy! The Jeopardy categories included Sanitation, Health, Nutrition, Money, and Farming. This interactive game taught students important food facts such as the benefits of eating healthy and the harmful effects fast food has on our bodies and our environment.

Lunch time! With our heads full of knowledge and our stomachs growling, we headed to the beautiful outdoor kitchen to make veggie quesadillas! Everyone helped chop up the chard, carrots, cabbage, and other delicious veggies fresh from the farm. 

After we finished eating our tasty lunch, we each took turns sharing our triumphs from this productive day! Many students were proud of the hard work they had done and the group effort that went into making the delectable quesadillas. Overall it has been a fun and successful week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

First week of FoodWhat?! 2012

FoodWhat's Spring Internship begins!  The Friday morning crew met for the first time this week, as did the rest of this year's 50+ new interns.  The morning began with a citrus toss name game to get students better acquainted with one another that ended in a sweet mid-morning snack of citrus.

  Everyone then gathered for a tour of our new work environment- the FoodWhat farm (and exploring the UCSC Farm and Garden)! Over the course of the tour, students gathered a variety of plants to make a salve which is useful for healing wounds, bites, rashes, and other skin ailments.

Group leaders Abby Bell and Doron Comerchero explained the benefits of various plants and herbs that we came across on the tour, including Yarrow, Lavender, Calendula, and Plantain. 

After touring the farm and collecting for the salve, youth gathered in one of the green houses to discuss their commitments during the next 12 weeks and to strategize on how to create a friendly, cohesive and positive work environment.  Here they are sealing the deal on a verbally discussed contract with a hand clap! (There was a written contract as well.)
Abby then explained the differences between shovels, spades, pitch forks and digging forks, and the youth used their new found knowledge and the help of wheel barrows to turn a compost pile. 

After working hard turning the compost pile in order to facilitate it's final decomposition into great plant food, it was time for some food of our own.  We cleaned up and gathered to whip up some strawberry banana smoothies and delicious pumpkin bran muffins.

Finally, everyone met up to discuss their triumph for the day, whether it was turning the compost, learning how to make a new food, or just finally being accepted to the program.  The first day ended with big smiles enjoying the muffins hot and fresh out of the oven.