Monday, March 28, 2016

and now, drumroll please....

Introducing Our New Programs Manager!

Welcome to the FoodWhat Team, Irene!!

Irene O'Connell is a mentor, educator, and advocate for youth and young people in Santa Cruz County. Originally from Los Angeles, Irene came to Santa Cruz to study Public Art and Latin American & Latino Studies at UCSC. Having previously served the community in mentorship roles in local high schools and in the Santa Cruz Juvenile Detention Center, Irene joins "Food, What?!" with experience in community organizing around youth violence prevention. She is passionate about the intersections where youth expression and creativity can meet empowerment for lasting, impactful change for their lives and their communities.
Irene is excited to work with young leaders and get her hands in the soil! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 3 in Paradise

Rain or shine, it doesn't stop us from joining in the FoodWhat fun!! This week we totally rocked it in the kitchen! We started off by baking mouthwatering corn bread and preparing stone soup! The beauty of stone soup is you and your family or friends can take almost any veggies you've got in your kitchens, whether cabbage or potatoes or kale or beans or sweet potatoes, and put them together for a nutritious meal; we all have gifts to offer our community! 

Elijah soupin' it up
Cristina mixing the cornbread 

Kiki scooping the cornbread batter into muffin tins

We then moved toward the field and worked on flipping more compost piles! 

After hard work, we got educated on the amount of processed sugar we consume when we drink a Coke, Arizona Ice Tea, Monster or other sugar-sweetened beverages. It was gross to realize that it's a lot of sugar in those little containers! But we've got options and can "vote" with our youth dollars for more beverages like water and natural juices. 

We ended our day by eating our delicious muffins and soup, fresh out of the oven and hot off the stove!

Monday, March 14, 2016

2nd Week of the 2016 FoodWhat Spring Program

Previously, on FoodWhat?!...
Second week of commitment, hard work, bonding, and laughter couldn't get any better than those veggie quesadilla's we cooked!  Our day started off with awkward ice breakers, but turned out to be funnier than we expected. It then moved on to a workshop of us making our own chap-stick with the herbs we picked out last week: Lavender, Calendula, Mallow, and Plantain. Following that, we headed out into a greenhouse where we learned about Chard. We then got to thin some out of seeding trays that were over full with too many plants so that the little seedlings can grow big and strong.
Finally, after a long day of work, we put on our chef hats and began prepping and cooking delicious veggie quesadillas!

Breaking up the herbs for our healing salve

We mixed the herbs with olive oil and bees wax and voila!...
Chap stick or salve thats good for the skin!
Beatriz thinning out flats of chard

Maria and Edgar sowing sunflowers

Yosemite showing off her chard hat

Irma showing the cabbage who is boss

Cookin' up some veggie quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas, cabbage,
kale, carrots, onions and garlic

Mmmmm, good!

Monday, March 7, 2016

1st Week of the 2016 FoodWhat Spring Program!

The new season of FoodWhat kicked off this week with new faces, new vibes, new attitudes, and whole lot of new smiles! The first week consisted of making new friends with games and activities to help us get to know one another, creating some community goals, exploring the new work space at the farms, flipping compost piles, and ending our long days work by bonding in the kitchen while blending fresh strawberry smoothies and baking delicious pumpkin muffins! Check out some photos of the Tuesday and Wednesday crews below. 

Ty muscling a heavy wheelbarrow of compost

Thats us flipping compost piles to help the microorganisms do their thang
and break down the food scraps

And of course, ending the day with some strawberry smoothies and pumpkin muffins doesn't hurt!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Kicking Off our 10th Year at the FoodWhat Winter Gathering Event!

This is what eloquent, confident, and powerful youth spreading across ten years of FoodWhat look like!

We began the evening with butternut curry squash soup, carrot pesto, crackers, meats, cheeses and of course fresh FoodWhat popcorn! Then everyone gathered up for the "Voices of Change" youth panel. 

In the photo above, here's Doron (on the right) passing the mic across Jo (now 25 and from the first FW Crew in 2007) to Uriel (2014), Max (2011), Brandon (2009), and Bri (2015). If you weren't there in person, imagine being totally inspired by these youth, ages 15-25, telling their stories of where they were in their lives when they joined FoodWhat, of their direct transformations and seeds of radical growth sown during their time at FW, and what they are most proud of in their lives at this moment. Then go for the wide view of how FoodWhat has been a space for hundreds of youth over the past decade to choose to step into their personal strength and experience their own success. 


As the night came to an end, FoodWhat youth alumni and community members signed our 10-year "yearbook" leaving sweet messages about their time with FoodWhat and their hopes for FoodWhat's future. With our Spring Internship starting TODAY with 56 newly hired youth, we're launching fast into our next decade. It's both exciting and uplifting to think of the stories these youth will be able to share at the end of this year with FoodWhat and years down the line!  

HUGE thanks to our super generous and welcoming host PATAGONIA; we're deeply grateful to El Salchichero, the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Abounding Harvest Mountain Farm, Companion Bakeshop, Whale City Bakery, and The Penny Ice Creamery for providing produce, food and linens; and much love and thanks to all of you who joined us, all the love and respect you show the youth, your incredible support for FoodWhat and fueling the programs that make these stories over the years possible!
More photos are up on Facebook - if you haven't already liked FoodWhat's page please check it out and feel free to tag yourself!  Winter Gathering 2016 Photos