“Food, What?!” brings home a 2012 HCSRA

“Food, What?!” makes me smile. The name, the place, the people in it…it takes just a millisecond of thinking about any combination of those things to break a big grin across my face!

I got to spend a day with the FoodWhat?! crew in Santa Cruz a few weeks ago- turning soil for the potato rows on their farm, chopping fresh beats and spinach in the outdoor kitchen, and gathering under the tent to learn the tricks of smart budgeting for future goals. It was a pretty perfect day- Santa Cruz was showing off its best sunshine, the homemade spanikopita was delicious, and we were laughing together and learning real skills at the same time.

The youth in the spring session at FoodWhat?! get to do this every week for three months. They’re using food (growing, harvesting, selling, cooking, eating) as a way to explore and practice social justice, youth empowerment, and job skill development. Some of them will stay on for another few months as Summer Apprentices and dig even deeper, while learning to become leaders in their own communities. Based on the crew I got to spend the day with, there’s no doubt FoodWhat?! alumni are out there all year round bringing their knowledge and growing skills back to their own communities, and leading the way for positive change. It makes me smile just thinking about it!

Join us in celebrating the inspiring and innovative work of 2012 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award winner, “Food, What?!”, at WhyHunger’s Annual Chapin Awards Dinner, in NYC on June 13, 2012.

Brooke Smith