Monday, March 30, 2015

Raise the Roof: HUGE Community Success!

Fantastic news to share:

More than 140 funders and local businesses have donated over $14,600 to 

Now, onwards! We are incredibly excited to begin building our first significant outdoor structure for our youth crews. This will be a space for youth to come together at the FoodWhat Farm for workshops, for straight talk, for deeply personal conversations, for leadership development, to dig into food justice, to share a meal together. This space will serve countless youth for many years to come. YOU are part of this success story! 

This was an incredible community effort where together we not only crossed the finish line in a short four weeks but exceeded the goal.

Keep checking the blog as the next big steps unfold: clearing the area, grading, constructing, beautifying, and (before we know it), engaging in this space with youth!

Special thanks to New Leaf Community Markets, Charlie Hong Kong, Companion Bakeshop, Assembly, The Penny, and Orchard Keepers for joining in on this campaign and investing in our local youth!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Raising [PIZZA] Dough for Raise the Roof!

On Tuesday over 50 people came to Companion Bakeshop's Pizza Night supporting Raise the Roof for FoodWhat youth! We ate almost 80 delicious pizzas like Kale Pesto with Sliced Potato & Ricotta and Zataar Roasted Carrots, Romesco Sauce & Yogurt made with produce from the farm. Companion donated 50% of the night’s proceeds to help build FoodWhat’s first outdoor gathering space/classroom for youth, and Odonata Wines jumped in to support with 10% of their proceeds from the night too!

With 120+ of you giving online and support from local businesses like Companion Bakeshop, Charlie Hong Kong, New Leaf Community Markets, the Penny, Assembly, Orchard Keepers, and Odonata’s we’re an incredible 94% of the way to build the first outdoor gathering space/classroom for FoodWhat youth!

Every gift, big or small, is extremely valuable and moves us towards the goal of having a gathering space thousands of youth will use for years to come.

...Less than 1 week to go! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!

Monday, March 23, 2015


The FoodWhat family has been working for over a month to raise $12,500 to build our first outdoor gathering space/classroom for youth! This will be a space for youth to gather when they come to the Farm, have workshops, share meals together, dig into food justice, learn and grown. This week we were up to 50% of our goal, and kept pounding the pavement to keep momentum going. 

youth in the Spring Internship program... it's clear they need a roof!

THEN New Leaf Community Markets stepped it up with an extraordinarily generous $2300 donation to take us to the 75% mark!!! New Leaf has supported FoodWhat efforts like the Strawberry BLAST youth health education event for years, and we’re so grateful they helped us reach this huge milestone in the campaign.


Raise the Roof for FoodWhat Youth!

FoodWhat youth need a space to gather when they first get to the farm, for workshops, for straight talk, for deeply personal conversations, for leadership development, to dig into food justice, to share a meal together. We've got 14 days left to RAISE THE ROOF by raising funds to build an outdoor gathering space for youth on the FoodWhat Farm!

Thanks to super generous support from our FoodWhat Fam, we're well over the halfway mark. We've raised more than $7,000 so far and only $5500 to go! Help us get the rest of the way there with a donation or by spreading the word about our campaign.

Thanks to Companion Bakeshop (2341 Mission St, Santa Cruz), there's another fun way for you help us RAISE the ROOF! 50% of all proceeds from Pizza Night on Tuesday, 3/24 will go to support a space FoodWhat youth can call their own. Come on out!!

If you've already given, we are so very grateful! You make FoodWhat possible!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Program Week 3

This week we asked ourselves, 

What do we need to be healthy? What does the soil need to be healthy?

As always, we start the day with an opening ice breaker. This weeks game: "All Aboard" - How do we keep all of our teammates on the life raft with only a limited number of hands and feet touching the ground. We got creative


Healthy soil = Healthy ____________? 
If you said "plants or crops" you are right. As organic farmers, we need to nurture and build our soil in order to have healthy plants and good food to eat. Our bodies need nutrients to be healthy, so do our plants. We feed our bodies nutrient filled foods and we feed our plants with COMPOST. 
Today we learned how to make compost piles: 

We skimmed the fields for greens

And some food scraps
Then we added the browns -straw and goat manure

 We gave the pile a little bit of water. Then we repeated the processes -making layers like compost lasagna.


When our compost pile was finished, we headed in to do a workshop called EAT A RAINBOW ...we're not talking about tasting the rainbow like skittles, but actually learning that the different colors of fruits and vegetable nourish different parts of our bodies. Red fruits and vegetables nourish our hearts and brains. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables help our eyes and help strengthen our immune systems. Green fruits and vegetables tend to have a lot of fiber and calcium, helping our digestion, bones, teeth, nails, hair, and vision. Blue and purple fruits and veggies have lots of antioxydents to help our bodies fight off disease, illness, and aging. White and brown fruits and vegetables help strengthen our immune systems and decrease cholesterol. 
Antonio and Gabby show off the cards they made
to help them remember the different colors
corresponding to the body parts. 

RAINBOW VEGGIE FRIED RICE: After working on the compost and all this talk about food, it was time to cook up and eat a rainbow!

Jesus ate beets and broccoli for the first time in his life!
"Not so bad," he said

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Week 2 of FoodWhat Spring Internship?!

On Wednesdays we partner with Live Earth Farm to run our spring internship program in Wastonville for youth from Pajaro Valley High and Watsonville Community School. This Wednesday was a filled with an Opening Icebreaker called "Toe to Toe", making salve, prepping strawberry beds, playing Fast Food Jeopardy, cooking quesadillas with vegetables Mmmm......., and like everyday, ending the day with a personal daily Triumph!

Learn something new about each other with Toe - to -Toe
Next we headed out to the Strawberry field to prep beds with hay to prevent mud tracks and weeds in the berry rows. We worked together to get it done on time. Our work was rewarded with some delicious strawberries to eat!

Many hands make light work!

Salve Making 
This week we made a healing salve from the herbs that we collected last week (plantain, calendula, yarrow, lavender, and mallow --all herbs that are good for healing skin ailments). Heat the herbs in olive oil, add bees wax, pour into containers, and voila!


Fast Food Jeopardy
After a long day of work we got to play Fast Food Jeopardy to learn more about the fast food industry, farms, the health costs of eating just one fast food meal. 
"Sanitation for 200 please"

Cooking Time
We made Veggie Quesadillas which was the first time many of us had vegetables in our quesadillas. We worked together to chop and cook all the vegetables and then we each got to make our own quesadilla. It tasted better than most of us expected! Delicious!

"Really? Greens in my quesadilla?"

We all had a great time today. We enjoyed each other's company and worked together to make the best day happen. We learned some new things and we are excited to the next 10 weeks of the internship. 
Stay tuned for more next week! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

2015 FoodWhat Spring Program has Begun!!!

This week was the first week of the 2015 FoodWhat Spring Program! We are excited to have 55 new youth from across the county, digging into job training, growing vegetables sustainably, cooking teamwork, and life skills. 

Meet the friday crew (13 youth coming from Pondorosa, Natural Bridges, and Delta Charter): we started the day with a name game so we could learn each other's names (pictured below)

Tossing oranges to learn names

Afterwards, we took a tour around the sunny farm and collected different medicinal plants that we will use to make a salve next week. We were shown different parts of the farm, and smelled and tasted different herbs.

We took a break from the hot sun and wrote down and discussed the things that are important to us in our current lives. We wrote some community goals for how we want to work together in this internship. Then we signed our contract for FoodWhat. Everyone signed up for this amazing few weeks to come!

Then it was time to move our bodies and get to work! We got our hearts pumping and worked together to flip and combine compost piles. We flipped two big piles in no time and worked up quite an appetite.
Cooking Time! Pumpkin muffins made from butternuts that the FoodWhat crew grew last season, and fruit smoothies with strawberries and persimmons from the farm. Many thanks to Straus Family Creamery for donating yogurt for our smoothies! Super refreshing on this hot spring day! 

Overall, it was a super fun day. We got to learn some new things, get to know each other a bit, and  better! This will be an exciting new year for FoodWhat! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 Winter Gathering

Our 2015 Winter gathering was a hit! 

Alumni and folks from the community came by our annual winter gathering hosted by our friends over at Assembly to see what’s new with the crew, brush up on food justice, and sample some tasty treats this week. 

We enthusiastically greeted all of our guests and got the chance to hang with other FoodWhat alumni who came out to support the event.  As always, we warmly welcomed our guests with a vibrant selection of snacks. Butternut squash soup, freshly popped popcorn from the FoodWhat fields, endless kiwi slices, and breads and spreads. To satisfy the sweet teeth throughout the night, we served up scoops from the Penny Ice Creamery all night.

We brought everyone in after some time to chat to introduce our crew hosting the evening. We told them how we started off as interns with FoodWhat and worked up to farm stand managers and community organizers teaching others about food justice. 

Then we dispersed to the tables with snacks in hand to talk a little more. At each table, we pulled slips of conversation starters out of jars to fuel some food-related conversation among the crew and the community.

After the warm up conversation, it was time to talk some food justice and nutrition. Our crew got the word across through hosting four workshops. First, we had a public speaking workshop with Doron to practice feeling confident talking in front of others while paying attention to posture and annunciation.

We also dissected food labels by looking into the sneaky ways processed sugars hide in many go-to beverages. Counting out how many spoonfuls of processed sugar it takes to sweeten up even small quantities of refreshments, we looked to drinks with natural sugars in them for a refreshing kick. We served up some pomegranate juice and bubbly water as proof of equal deliciousness!

Looking at the big picture, we checked out Trace your Taco to see a taco’s journey through the food system. We learned about all the details, ranging from how far our food travels before it gets to our plate to how the animals are treated before they get to us. 

For a more competitive edge, we played Fast Food Jeopardy! As our opposing teams competed for the most points, we revealed all of the hidden details of the industry. 

After learning a little something more about food systems, we all came back together in one group. Everyone from the FoodWhat crew sat in a circle, on the hard ground. We started talking about how sitting in the sun, on the ground is a little rough despite being able to learn and work in fresh air. It can be a little rough. 

The crowd caught on pretty quick. We shared our mission to build an outdoor classroom for a more comfortable and effective space to learn throughout our Summer days working hard in the fields.  Everyone put their hands up in support of  FoodWhat to raising the roof!

Our mission stimulated a lot of excitement to hear about the growth we’re continuing to make on our farm. Some people made pledges and donations right away! Stoked on the new potential for the fields, we thanked everyone for joining us and closed out the night.