Tag Archives: Central Coast

6th Annual Central Coast Calfresh Forum

Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County will host the Annual Calfresh Forum on Friday, May 12th, 2017 from 8am to 2pm at the Watsonville Civic Plaza, 275 Main Street, Watsonville.  Join Hunger fighters from the Central Coast, special guest speakers, and more.  A light breakfast and a special lunch will be served.  Admission is free.  Please register by May 5th.

Santa Cruz Area School Garden Reception and Dinner

On Thursday, December 8th at 5:30pm Life Lab is hosting a reception and dinner with 26 school garden leaders from 16 School Garden Support Organizations from across the country.

They are inviting school garden educators and supporters from the Santa Cruz area, to mix it up and share school garden culture with these garden champions from afar. This will be a stellar and unique opportunity to learn about great school garden work taking place across the country while enjoying some delicious food and drink together in a beautiful, beach-front location!

Please RSVP Here by November 30th to receive specific details, including parking information and more.

Serving Food and Serving Communities

Written by: Brianna Egan, FoodCorps Service Member with Pajaro Valley Unified School District

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Students from the Jóvenes SANOS youth group voiced their perspectives on the lunchrooms at Watsonville High and E.A. Hall Middle School as part of a design-thinking activity I facilitated with them. The current cafeterias are “old school” and “institutionalized”. They’d love to see more Mexican food, a salad bar, and even a fresh juice bar.

The fall season brings with it a time of reflection—a time to gather the final harvests of summer and to lay down plans, like cover crops, for the coming year. This fall, in my second month of service through FoodCorps at Pajaro Valley Unified School District, I am reflecting on my whirlwind introduction to school food and laying down plans on how I will work to connect kids with healthy food this year.

Every morning on my commute to the school district’s offices in Watsonville, California I pass by acres and acres of farmland. I turn my head to make out the fruits on the rows and I see farmworkers, bent over, tending to the fields. Raspberries, strawberries, lettuce greens, hoodies, denim…they blur into shades of deep green and dust brown. I cannot wrest away the thought that the growing of our food is intimately connected to people, to families, and to communities.

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School’s Out: Who’s Hungry for Health?

Written by: Daiana Baez, FoodCorps Service Member with CAFF and Life Lab

The splash of rocks skipping, the skidding of tires, the sweet whispers of grasshoppers, and the silent buzz of bees are all familiar noises connected with summer. However, perhaps much louder, is the sound of a collective hunger that stirs all season long. The USDA has estimated that 30.3 million children depend on the National School Lunch Program to ease their hunger aches during the school year. Unfortunately, as soon as the last bell rings, only 2.6 million children are fortunate enough to find facilities providing food assistance during the summer. But with the lack of resources, and overwhelming amount of challenges nutrition services facilities face in low-resource, low-income communities, the privilege of health dilutes in a sea of calories and sugar. This summer, nonetheless, food fighters in Pajaro Valley Unified School District together worked to create a nutrition program that reached five different schools, and almost every single student at: Starlight Elementary, Ohlone Elementary, Landmark Elementary, Freedom Elementary, and Cesar Chavez Middle School.

6-plant-part burrito

6-plant-part burrito

To provide PVUSD summer school students with not just calories, but a sample of health, the district’s Teach Project (supported by Grind Out Hunger) provided teams of nutrition educators with enough resources for each of their students to eat a rainbow. Continue reading

Farm to la Escuela: Nutrition Education with English Language Learners

Sarah_MendesThis week’s blogpost highlight is written by FoodCorps Service Member Sara Mendes who is currently serving with Life Lab and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) along the Central Coast. Serving in the heartland of agriculture and in Spanish-speaking communities, Sara has been able to serve countless of students by teaching Harvest of the Month lessons and leading field trips. Read on to learn about her approach to teaching bilingual garden and nutrition-based lessons.

“¿Como se dice ‘sour’ en español?” I ask my first grade students. “Amargo!” someone shouts. “No! That means bitter. Agrio!” another voice suggests.

Agrio,” the class agrees. I write the word in English and Spanish on the whiteboard where we are very scientifically documenting how two varieties of local kiwi taste.

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Peer, What?! Let the Youth Lead!

Roanna_CooperThis week’s guest blog is written by second year FoodCorps California Service Member, Roanna Cooper. Serving two consecutive years with Food, What?!, a youth empowerment program in partnership with Life Lab, Roanna has had the opportunity to be a mentor for countless of youth across Santa Cruz County. Read on to learn about Food, What?! and the youth-led workshops offered.

Peer, What?! Let the Youth Lead!

Beginning in 2013, “Food, What?!” began a partnership with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education to extend its reach to hundreds more youth across the county by offering a peer-to-peer Community Educator Workshop Series in various classrooms throughout Santa Cruz and Watsonville. This has not only allowed FoodWhat to offer hundreds of area youth some of the youth empowerment, food justice and health content utilized in its core programs, but has also provided a unique opportunity for FoodWhat Alumni to step into a strong leadership role with their peers, furthering positive youth development outcomes.

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