Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Food, What?!" July Photo of the Month

Make sure to click "Display Images" above to check out a rad photo of Jaime on the farm!

Meet Jaime

We met 16 year old Jaime at the Success Academy in his hometown of Watsonville. During the Spring Internship, Jaime always had a bag of chips and often a super sugary drink for a snack. To encourage positive pattern change, each day in the Summer Job the youth cook a farm fresh, healthy meal together and we all sit down and eat lunch as a crew. I noticed at lunch recently that Jaime was loading up on salad and veggies. When I asked him about his diet change he said, "First time I came here I didn't want to eat none of this green stuff.  Now it's regular."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bicycle Delivery!

Every year FoodWhat teams up with People Power, a local bicycle advocacy organization, to include a morning of biking into the work day. We met up bright and early at the Homeless Garden Project Farm to kick the day off. As we arrived, everyone searched through the dozen bikes People Power brought over to find a bike that fit each of our heights. Tawn from People Power helped us find helmets that fit us and taught us how to wear them properly to protect our skulls and faces. Situated safely on our bikes, Tan taught us the hand motions to let cars know when we're turning right, left, or stopping.

With these safety skills under our belts, Tawn led the group as we headed across town to Yellow Wall Farm to help them out with some work and pick up a delivery. To make the delivery, Eddie braved towing the delivery cart throughout the ride over.


 After a successful ride to the farm, we arrived to meet Allen and Judy, the owners of the farm. This couple farms in their backyard to sell a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs to grocery stores and at their farm stand at the end of summer. Jesse, a FoodWhat intern this past spring, recently joined this family farm as the newest crew member!  

Jesse showed us the ropes in the time that we spent at Yellow Wall Farm. He directed us on harvesting Dino Kale - showing us which leafs to discard and how to bundle it properly. While some harvested , others icked up fallen apples in the orchard and weeded the beds of lettuce.


With the work finished and the kale in boxes, we loaded up Eddie's delivery cart and made our way to the next destination: the West Side New Leaf. We biked over, and successfully made the delivery with the kale still in its perfect bundles. After the delivery, we kept the bike ride going motivated by food as we rode back to the Homeless Garden Project Farm to get some grub and finish up the rest of the day's work. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer CSA Harvest

Tuesdays during the school year may just be average days, but the CSA harvests at the FoodWhat farm make Tuesdays a day to look forward to. Every week, we hit the fields to harvest the vegetables that we strive to take care of and maintain everyday at work. Harvesting requires a lot of attention to detail, making sure to harvest and handle each vegetable properly. At the end of the day, each crew member gets to take home a heaping bag of the day's produce home to cook for themselves, families, and friends! What a way to enjoy the fruits of our own labor.




"We harvest the vegetables we grow ourselves and take them home to our families. My mom gets excited that her daughter grew the food we are eating and I can tell them about the importance of eating organic. The CSAs also help us eat healthier. I brought home some kohlrabi and my family had never even heard of it before, but they tried it and liked it!" 

-Crystal, Junior Staff

 Before the harvest, we always kick the morning off with a game to wake our bodies up and laugh a little to get pumped for the work day.  

After the game, we head over to the packing shed where a whiteboard can always be found listing the day's harvest, where the veggies grow, and how much of each we need to send everybody home with some deliciousness.  Learning how to learn to take direction from this chart allows us to take the reigns and work independently to make sure everything gets harvested. Everybody signs up for a job, and gets to harvesting!

 "It's hard to eat healthy when you don't know what to buy, how to cook it, or where to get it. Before I started working with FoodWhat, my family didn't eat vegetables because there just weren't any! Now I bring them home every week and we have them around so we add them into our meals to make them healthier."

-José, Junior Staff

Everybody hits the fields to harvest the veggies they signed up for. Suddenly the air on the farm smells so strongly of cilantro you can nearly taste it! Some of us hunt for the largest summer squash while others are reaching in the plum trees for the most ripe plums. Others supply us with our leafy greens as the harvest kale, lettuce, and spinach.



"I love to cook! The CSAs give me so much produce to take home and cook for my family. My mom is diabetic and she loves to snack on the carrots I bring home when she has a sweet tooth."

-Deonte, Junior Staff

Even with the harvest complete, we aren't quite finished yet. We take our harvest over to the washing table to clean off the soil, spraying off root vegetables and dunking leafy ones.

The next step is weighing the harvest and bundling the veggies together into portions for each person. To keep a record of how much we grew over the season and how much we took home to chow down on, we keep a binder recording our harvest each week.


"The CSAs help my family eat vegetables but I know where they came from and I know they're organic, so it's even better! It's cool knowing that I grew the food my family eats."

-Edgar, Junior Staff

Filling our bags up with produce is the last step of the CSA process! We made super rad bags out of old shirts by sewing up the bottom to transport our share home every week. It's super important to bring them back to FoodWhat the next day because they serve as a tool to do our work. We store the CSA bags to finish the rest of the day's work before bringing them home to cook, share, and enjoy!