Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 Meet the 2014 "Food, What?!" Fall Crew

We are wrapping up an amazing fall season of events, activities, FoodWhat micro-businesses and fall leadership jobs.  In the Fall Program, the youth step up their leadership skills, solidify their professionalism, and take on assistant managing one of the FoodWhat projects or businesses. The Fall Program is when the youth put their training from the spring and summer into practice. We wanted to shout out the amazing Fall youth crew who have worked hard these past two months to make each of these projects run.

Flower Business 

Aakash and Maria de los Angeles
Aakash and Maria de los Angeles ran the FoodWhat flower business this year. They came to the farm twice a week to harvest flowers, arrange bouquets, handle the accounting, and deliver them to local businesses. They took full ownership and responsibility of their work, learning the proper cutting and handling of each type of flower and delivering high quality and artistic arrangements.

We are grateful for the support and partnership from local businesses that bought our flowers each week: Cafe Delmarette, Lulu Carpenters, Penny Ice Creamery, Patagonia, and Charlie Hong Kong. 


Harvest Festival Event Organizers

Uriel: "Check this out!"
Maria: "Which one should I use?"
Maria and Uriel were this year's Harvest Festival Planners. They learned and implemented all the skills necessary to put on a major event (planning the stations and flow of the event, outreach to partners and volunteers, invites to schools, press, harvesting the pumpkins, event set up and day-of facilitators). This year they correlated the FoodWhat Harvest Festival with National Food Day and focused the theme on Real Food, Just Food, and Justice for farm workers. Still running the good ol' favorite stations (pumpkin carving, hay rides, popcorn shucking and popping, apple tarts and cider pressing, Youth Dollar Power and Fast Food Jeopardy workshops), they added many new and improved stations to the event such as: Squash Injustice Tasting (participants could taste three different types of winter squash and vote for their favorite), Thank a Farm Worker Campaign (participants learned about the experience of many farm workers and wrote them letters of appreciation), and a Food Day themed Photo Booth. The event was a complete success hosting 300 youth from all over Santa Cruz County. Check out what the press wrote about the event here!


Culinary Crew

Maria de los Angeles

Food is in our name. It's what we do. Miguel and Maria de los Angeles took on the chef roll and cooked up an amazing amount of deliciousness this fall. They honed their culinary skills by preparing food for the FoodWhat Benefit Dinner, lunches for Life Lab workshop participants, dinners for the other FoodWhat youth, apple tarts for the FoodWhat Harvest Festival, and canned up some salsa for next year's programs, YUM!




Harvest and Farm Stand 

Fall is when the farm is most abundant with food to harvest. Though we begin harvesting vegetables in June, in September and October we add tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cabbage, and onions to our already bountiful fields of basil, lettuce, broccoli, squash, beans, cucumbers, cilantro, leeks, carrots, beets, and more. This fall Pedro, Ziah, Lucas and Miguel managed the harvest and post harvest handling of all of our crops. They came to the farm every Tuesday afternoon to harvest for the FoodWhat Farm Stand that happened at Gault Elementary School each Wednesday. 
Harvest Managers: Ziah, Pedro, Miguel, and Lucas

On Wednesday mornings Pedro and Ziah set up and ran the farm stand at Gault Elementary. Each year FoodWhat runs a farm stand at Gault Elementary School for nine weeks in the fall. We sell our produce to the school community at discounted prices so that our food is comparable to the price of produce in conventional grocery stores. We believe that all people have a right to fresh, local, organic, healthy fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to support our community by helping to make this food more accessible and affordable to all and take an action step toward food justice in Santa Cruz.    
Ziah and Pedro managing the farm stand at Gault Elementary

Farm Crew

Ziah, Roanna, Uriel, Cesar
Cesar, Uriel, Lucas, Ziah and Alora were this year's farm co-managers. Not only did they take care of the weeding, harvesting, planting, cover cropping etc., but they also overhauled the basic design of the FoodWhat field, spending countless hours and dripping tons of sweat by hand digging out the pathways between each bed to more clearly define the paths from the beds. This has been a dream of ours over the past seasons and this crew took it on with a positive attitude and strong muscle. 
Newly dug pathways between beds

The fall farm management job also gave each of them the opportunity to not only develop stronger "farming eyes", but also practice time and group management skills as well as the important leadership skill of finishing a task with quality while looking ahead to think through the next project.

Axel digging beds
 Each week Axel, Alistar, Uriel and Alora go to a different school or community garden to help "Blast" out some major maintenance and infrastructure projects. This fall they have tackled everything from pond maintenance at Gateway to composting and digging beds at Costanoa to mulching a community orchard with Mesa Verde Gardens and extraordinary amounts of weeding at all the sites. Their work helps deepen and expand the educational programs that run at each site. 

Axel, Alistar, Alora, and Uriel

Thank you to Patagonia for sponsoring the BLAST Program

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