Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Dig Day" Alumni Reunion

Over the past seven years, FoodWhat has served over 300 youth through Youth Empowerment and Food Justice programs and this year we decided it was time to get them together! Since Alex (our new Associate Director) began with the organization in November, she has been diligently working on creating a plan for how to best engage and serve Alumni and the “Dig Day” event was the first opportunity to really kick it off. “Dig Day” was planned by Alex and two Alumni Planner interns, Chris and Connor. Together, they created an incredible event that truly spoke to the spirit of FoodWhat and got youth excited about getting back involved.

The alumni began trickling in around 11:45 AM on Sunday morning and started off by writing name tags, munching on farm fresh snacks and receiving their “Food, What?!” Alumni wristbands. Youth who hadn’t seen each other in years were hugging, reconnecting, and swapping stories of their recent accomplishments with Doron and Abby. Everyone was stoked to see familiar faces and share about their lives. We knew right away that this would be a fun afternoon!

After a few minutes of mingling, Abby got us going in the fields with a lofty list of tasks to get the farm ready for the season. We started by grabbing forks and hitting the FoodWhat field to start skimming cover crop, double digging beds and adding compost. The alumni dove right in and we built up enough energy to get all the work done in an hour! When we finished, Abby stepped back and breathed a sigh of relief as she assessed the work, knowing that her farm load had just gotten a little bit lighter.

In keeping with classic foodwhat style, after farm work we headed over to the circle tent to play some games. Chris and Connor led us through “Sprout Ball”, “My Biggest Fan”, and “Opinion Line”. The “Opinion Line” game asked questions such as, “Who thinks applying to college and jobs can be confusing and kind of hard” and then we followed up with answers like, “That’s OK! Because as an Alumni you have access to support on college applications, resume writing, and more!”. This gave us an opportunity to introduce what the Alumni Association is all about in a meaningful and engaging way. At the end of games, Doron and Alex distributed Alumni Evaluations so that we could gather information on how FoodWhat has affected lives and the choices youth have made since leaving the program.

Finally, it was time to eat - and we all know what a big production eating is at FoodWhat! FoodWhat Junior Staff Deonte and Crystal had spent most of the afternoon cooking and they prepared a beautiful spread of beans, rice, meat, veggies, tortillas, agua fresca, fresh fruit, and cheeses. As alumni finished their evaluations, they made their way over to indulge in some organic, healthy, fresh food to complete a fun day on the farm.

As people finished up eating and starting pitching in to clean up, we all remarked to each other what a fun, successful Alumni Reunion “Dig Day” had been. We were able to reconnect with old friends, get a ton of farm work done, learn about everyone’s lives, AND eat amazing food -- not bad for 3 hours on a Sunday morning! We can’t wait to see everyone at the next alumni event.

HUGE THANKS to Chris and Connor for helping make this event happen!!

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