Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012 October Photo of the Month

October 6th -- FoodWhat Benefit Dinner
Thank you to all of our amazing guests who helped make this the most successful benefit event we've ever had.  Together we raised $32,000 to support FoodWhat and our youth, and shared in a delicious, inspiring, and nourishing evening.

October 17th -- FoodWhat Harvest Festival
As you can see, these are the tough decisions we posed to over 200 middle and high school students from across Santa Cruz County.  (She chose the Delicata squash over the Red Kuri and Carnival varieties in case you were wondering.)

October 25th -- Guess Who Came to Lunch?!
...Michael Pollan!  

Deonte (pictured above with white apron) and Crystal made lunch for Michael Pollan and friends who came to check out FoodWhat, Life Lab, and the UCSC Farm and Garden.  When we got to the FoodWhat Field, I spoke for a few minutes then passed the mic to the youth.
Vicky (black t-shirt) told a very personal story about justice and punctuated it with: "I'm only 18 and 
(on the farm at FoodWhat) I've already been shown respect. My Mom has been on this earth for thirty-six years and never had a day of respect in her life (as a field worker on a farm in Watsonville)."
Deonte shared about his time at FoodWhat and said "Now I feel very confident in myself and as a chef."  Michael Pollan asked him how he got so confident as a chef and Deonte responded..."Well, from cooking here at FoodWhat, and from Abby...and...well...from watching a lot of cooking shows!" 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

We catered for Edible Monterey Magazine Party

Crystal, Matthew, and Deonte (FoodWhat's Fall Culinary crew) teamed up with Lightfoot Industries, Santa Cruz ROP culinary arts program, and Chef Brad Briske, to cater Edible Monterey Magazine's 1st Anniversary Party. Under the incredible expertise of Chef Brad, the crew spent Thursday afternoon and all day Friday prepping, cooking and serving the dinner. The event was a delicious and beautiful celebration of our local foodshed while offering great professional practice fort the youth. However, the true success for us was the collaboration of these rad youth organizations in the county all doing great work with young people and food. This was the first time we all teamed up for an event, and hopefully not the last. The youth came together seamlessly. They spent a lot of time behind the scenes laughing together while setting tables, plating food, and washing dishes. New friendships were made and confidence built. Our crew got to see that what they are learning and experiencing at FoodWhat is part of a larger community. To top it off, Crystal and Deonte spoke in front of all of the guests and told their stories. Deonte talked about eating less fast food and feeling more confident with his culinary skills. Crystal shared how she has become a stronger, more confident and more responsible person over her year with FoodWhat.
You can read more about the event and menu here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Food, What?! 2012 Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

On October 17th, Food, What?! hosted its annual Harvest Festival! Buses of students from different schools across Santa Cruz County joined us to celebrate the season. The day consisted of a variety of workshops, activities, and healthy food.
Jose and Vicky, our two FoodWhat Youth Event Planners, noted:  "We the youth at “Food, What?!” think it is important that more students should get involved in understanding their Local Food System, have an enjoyable farm experience, and create a personal connection with organic farming and healthy food."

After getting off the bus, the pumpkin patch was the first destination. Some visitors braved carrying the heftier varieties while others chose more petite ones. As the day went on, they got their creative juices flowing by carving into their selections!  All 300 pumpkins were grown by the FoodWhat Crew.

The FoodWhat crew members led discussions about food justice throughout the day and educated the visitors about their personal power to make positive change in their communities. After informing them about pressing issues and explaining how the issues directly impact lives, participants voiced their opinions and posted their thoughts to the food justice wall.

Thinking requires energy, so FoodWhat made sure no one went hungry. Students tasted 3 distinct varieties of apples exploring color, texture, and flavor. While apples remain a loved treat among all age groups, the squash-sampling was a new experience for most.  The students then voted on their favorite variety with Delicata taking Gold, Red Kuri got Silver, and Carnival finished last.

For lunch, the crew joined Santa Cruz City School's Chef extraordinaire Jamie Smith.  They couldn't get the pizzas out fast enough--and they were LOADED with fresh veggies from the FoodWhat Farm.  Jamie and crew clearly demonstrated how school lunch can be healthy as they served up the delicious, veggie-topped pizzas.

Tony co-led a workshop on the importance of drinking water. He discussed the power water has to heal everyday problems, ranging from a bad mood to a sore throat. To show our guests how great water can make the body feel, Tony refereed potato sack races! All participants truly appreciated water after their races.

And what would a Harvest Festival be without plenty of seasonal, sweet, juicy apples! At one station they made their very own apple cider and at another their own apple tarts. They cored and pealed their apples to make a delicious filling for their crusts and washed it down with some thirst-quenching juice.



Life Lab's stellar staff and UCSC interns performed a skit about making good decisions. Through a hilarious yet relevant skit, students followed the journey of two teens from high school into their adult life and discovered the role of healthy decision making (versus destructive apathy).

The guests got up close and personal with bees by looking at a glass-door hive and learning all about the various roles within the hive.  To top the lesson off, everyone enjoyed samples of honey! Students even discovered how the plants bees pollinate changes the flavor of the honey they produce.

There was another workshop on fair trade foods.  For most students, "Fair Trade" was a new concept. Bananas were a perfect example to explain how trade and purchasing power affects people worldwide.

Those who needed some time to thoroughly enjoy the sights, smells, and sun of the farm took a relaxing hay bale ride.  The ride was also a great way to see the many acres of fields in production of fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables.

At the end of the day, students went home with new knowledge to consider next time they go to the grocery store, new language and interest in fair trade and food justice, an experiential understanding of the value of healthy food, and of course, pumpkins!