“Food, What?!” is a youth empowerment and food justice organization. At FoodWhat, youth engage in relationships with land, food and each other in ways that are grounded in love and rooted in justice. We provide meaningful space where youth cultivate their empowerment, liberation and well-being. We are uniquely positioned as an organization that supports youth well-being by inviting them to directly participate in their local food system through organic farming.
Youth from Watsonville to Santa Cruz grow, cook, eat and distribute farm-fresh, organic food while addressing local food justice issues.
For 15+ years, FoodWhat has been a safe space where youth historically excluded in our community are afforded the opportunity to redefine their health and well-being on their own terms and in lasting ways. A key ingredient of our work is supporting youth in building meaningful connections to nature, food, and the outdoors in a deep and culturally-relevant way.
For youth at our Watsonville farm site, this includes access to our safe outdoor kitchen space. After a decade of wear and tear, elements of the kitchen are nearing the end of their usefulness and need to be replaced. These include a 3-burner stove, cast iron pans, sink and drying rack, blender, plates, EZ UP tents, portable picnic tables, bins, and Tupperware.
These outdoor spaces are crucial to sustaining long-term diet change. Away from distractions, youth breathe fresh air, address their mental health by connecting to the land, and cook nourishing meals for themselves, their families, and their communities.
My biggest accomplishment in my FoodWhat summer job is to stop eating junk food and eat more healthy.
From Summer Job Program 2022 Evaluation