Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Food, What?!" April Photo-of-the-Month


Check it out!  This is our monthly snapshot to share with friends and family.  If you dig it, you'll see it again next month.  Thanks for viewing...

Doron, Abby, Alex and the FoodWhat Crew

"Dig Day" this past Sunday.
Our new Annual Alumni Reunion Day.  

It was fantastic!  
  • Youth from every year of FoodWhat since we began
  • Vicky, Deonte, and Crystal (Junior Staff) made a delicious healthy taco lunch
  • Jose and Edgar (other Junior Staff) led alumni on the farm to clear cover crop, build mega compost piles, dig beds, and prep them for planting this week
  • Played games, reconnected, shared stories
  • Filled out an extensive survey on the effects of FoodWhat on their lives
Great, great day organized by our stellar Youth Alumni Organizers, Chris and Connor.

Copyright © 2013 "Food, What?!" (Project of Life Lab), All rights reserved.

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"Food, What?!" (Project of Life Lab)
Life Lab
1156 High St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Week Five at "Food, What?!"

Week five started off with a game of "I Have Common Ground" to warm up before our day on the farm. One person stood in the center of the circle and announced something they can relate to others about (like "I have common ground with all those who ate breakfast today"). Those who shared common ground raced to another spot in the circle. The last one to complete the circle ended up in the middle and led the next round!

New this year, on Wednesdays, FoodWhat brings our program to Watsonville and operates at a local farm partner, Live Earth Farm. Amongst chickens and farm dogs, we dug furrows and spread compost to prepare the field for planting. We pulled apart onion seedlings, laid them out, and planted them into the ground in no time. Before leaving the fields when our work was done, everybody harvested chard for today's lunch!



Warm from working in the sun, Doron led us through a workshop on seemingly refreshing beverages. The focus of the workshop highlighted a key ingredient in most of the drinks youth turn to when we're thirsty: processed sugar.  We talked about all of the ways this sneaky ingredient can affect our moods, the way we treat others, how well we can focus in school, and our bodies. To combat the negative consequences of consuming mass amounts of processed sugars, Farmer D showed us how to read nutrition labels, paying close attention to serving size. Even though a drink may list 20 grams of sugar per serving, who would have thought most of the beverages we consume within minutes actually contain two or three servings? That's 60 grams of sugar! We measured sugar to see exactly how much goes into our bodies every time we buy one of these sweet drinks.

 With a startling example of the ingredients within sodas, energy drinks, and sweet teas, we turned to alternatives. We learned that affordable brands like Juice Squeeze and locally-produced Martinelli's Sparkling Juices quench our thirst without the dose of processed sugar. Instead, these drinks give our bodies natural, unprocessed sugars from fruit. We also looked at how every dollar we spend is our vote...and our vote is our power.  So we learned the term "Youth Dollar Power!"  Another perk to buying Martinelli's products is using our youth power power on convenient, healthy drinks that also provide jobs for our families and friends here in Watsonville.

Then it was taco time! We chopped up freshly harvested chard along with carrots, onions, and avocados. We shredded some cheese, prepared masa for making tortillas, and put the beans on the stove top. With our veggies softened and our tortillas perfectly golden, the taco bar was open for business! The day ended enjoying our lunch and discussing our triumphs to motivate us for another exciting day on the farm next week.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Alumni Reunion Warriors Game

We have spent the past few months planning activities for the new FoodWhat Alumni Association. As a sort of test run, we received 30 tickets from Danny Keith of Grind Out Hunger to take a group of youth to a warriors game! Chris and Connor, the Alumni Planner interns, made over 100 phone calls to past FoodWhat Summer program participants to rally a crew and the turn-out was awesome.

This was our first Alumni Association event, and we ended up with representatives from all seven years of programming. This was our first opportunity to reconnect in a meaningful way, so while the game was going, we passed around evaluation sheets to gather information about college, careers, and general facts about life post-FoodWhat.

 Everyone had an awesome time at the game, and it was really fun to reconnect. We are looking forward to more Alumni events in the future!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week Four at "Food, What?!"

Spring break brought us back to the farm refreshed and well-rested for the fourth week of FoodWhat! We reunited with a game requiring balance, speed, and egg-passing skills. Spoons in hand, we passed a raw egg around the circle careful not to drop it. Each round had us racing the clock at a faster pace but we successfully kept the egg off the ground and unbroken.

Then it was time to move into the fields and clear beds for planting. With practice clearing cover crop from previous weeks, we finished the task efficiently and the massive pile of plants we skimmed served as proof of our hard work.


With cleared beds, Abby gave us a lesson on the importance of healthy soil to grow healthy plants. She explained that making compost is like making a lasagna, except with food scraps, cover crops, straw, and horse manure. This combination of ingredients we would never eat becomes essential nutrient additive for all of the food we'll grow this season! Another benefit of composting? It keeps our food waste out of landfills where it decomposes to produce gases causing global warming. Instead, we compost the waste and its energy and nutrients are used to grow healthy plants. With all of our ingredients laid out, we then set to work building massive compost piles to use later in the season!



With our beds cleared and a pile of compost already heating up, we headed over to the circle bench for a public speaking workshop with Doron. He demonstrated how to pump ourselves up by making eye contact with our audience, straightening our posture, and speaking clearly to deliver a strong presence when speaking in front of groups. An even more powerful trick to getting pumped? Our own thoughts! We practiced noticing our levels of nervousness/confidence on a scale of one to ten, telling ourselves where we want to bring ourselves up to, and then delivering. With our goal in mind, we delivered our public speaking with increased confidence and stronger presence.  We practiced with the basics like our name and ending a speech by thanking the audience.  We dug in deeper by making short presentations on how to prepare our favorite sandwich utilizing all the elements of good public speaking we had just learned.

Then it was time for omelets! But first, we met the generous providers of the eggs for our dinner and learned a bit about the vitamin D within the egg yoke that can lift our moods and how the hens' diets affects the nutrients we get in our meals.

Our focus turned to vegetables as we chopped broccoli, beet greens, and freshly harvested chard. We sauteed the veggies until they were soft and whipped up some eggs before taking on the difficult challenge of perfecting the art of making omelets. With patience, our omelets were folded into egg and vegetable deliciousness and ready to be enjoyed. The day ended with thoughtful journal entries and full, satisfied bellies.