yolo farm to fork

YoloShines: Yolo Farm-to-Fork

Kids with lettuce - WestmoreOaks.jpg

When the sun shines, so too do our children and, increasingly, those who harvest fresh produce from their school gardens. Enter Yolo Farm-to-Fork (YF2F), another little engine that is making a tremendous impact on our community.

We've had the fortune of supporting YF2F and its programs over the past few years. Pun intended, they are planting seeds for healthy living and regional sustainability. Recently, we engaged Suzanne Falzone, president of the nonprofit, to share more about YF2F.

1. Why does YF2F exist?

Yolo Farm to Fork supports edible school gardens, providing garden- and farm-based education to students because kids love to eat what they grow, creating healthier eating habits in the process. Hands-on learning that starts in the garden easily connects to all areas of the classroom curriculum AND encourages kids to improve their diets with more fresh produce.  We have started and currently sustain 40 public and private elementary school gardens through our “Dig in Yolo” program.  Seven additional schools participate in our “Growing Lunch” project whereby students grow, harvest, weigh, wash and deliver garden fresh produce to their cafeterias for inclusion in school meals by district food service staff.  “Our Go Visit a Farm!” program has provided hands-on learning through farm visits for over 1600 students countywide.  Our ultimate goals are to introduce kids to the joys and skills of growing food in ways that connect to classroom curriculum, and to improve their nutrition and consumption of more fresh produce.

2. In 2017, YF2F ...

Our three programs reach more than 8,000 students in elementary schools throughout Yolo County. We serve preschoolers as well, introducing garden-based learning to Head Start centers in Woodland and West Sacramento. Students in our Growing Lunch project delivered more than 3,200 pounds of fresh produce to their schools’ cafeterias in 2017. College students benefit too as we offer garden internships to students from UC Davis and Woodland Community College – 24 interns to date with a new group oriented at Cesar Chavez Elementary on January 13. (Repower note: Love this ... we have a constant flow of UC Davis interns/employees churning the gears of our company, and our children went to school at Chavez!)

3. Share a YF2F story.

“I helped plant this tree when I was in first grade,” announced Graciela to her apricot-picking team of 4th graders.  “Just pick the ones that are a little bit soft, but not mushy,” she instructed, “mushy ones go in the compost, and leave the hard ones and the green ones on the tree to pick later.”  She led her team to the garden shed, and each of them weighed the bag of apricots they picked while Graciela recorded the weight by each team member’s name.  “We got almost 10 pounds today,” she boasted, following them over to the washing station. The fragrant fruit tempted a tasting before washing, but washing the apricots was fun too, so nearly all the apricots got washed and shared in the classroom.

In Graciela’s school, nearly 90% of the students come from low-income families, eligible for free or reduced cost school meals. Many of them had never tasted a fresh-picked apricot, and sharing the tasting in the classroom resulted in a flood of new adjectives from class, each written on the white board by the teacher along with a journal writing assignment about apricot adventures. Learning that starts in the garden sticks to minds better than apricot juice sticks to fingers.

4. How can people help (monetarily, personally, professionally)?

We invite individual volunteers, business support and monetary donations to join our cause. Healthier kids lead to a healthier future and economy for all of us.  Check out the “get involved” tab on our website: www.yolofarmtofork.org.

For fun AND support, plan to attend our Park Winters Gala on March 19, 2018 – a celebration of Yolo County agriculture with a 5-course gourmet dinner complete with Yolo produced beverages.  All the information can be found on our website or through our Facebook posts. See you at the Gala!

YoloShines: Yolo Farm to Fork

As we've shared, Yolo Farm to Fork is one of our favorite (most appetizing?) nonprofits. Like many small, scrappy organizations, F2F does a lot with a little, and their impact spans generations.

With our YoloShines program, Repower homeowners select a local nonprofit organization to which we donate $500. When the selected organization is one of our faves, our donation has even more meaning.

To wit, we would like to thank Davis resident Kirk Mills and his family for choosing Yolo Farm to Fork, and we are proud to donate $500. Here's an encapsulation of why the Mills family selected F2F:

The video on Yolo Farm to Fork's website really spoke to our family. We value buying local produce because it's delicious (mostly), but also because we know it has only traveled a short distance to our local store thereby creating less pollution in the traveling process. The idea of schools using local produce is so exciting. Even more exciting is the concept of school gardens. We know first hand how excited our son gets about our garden at home and how it makes him want to eat what he grows. It is truly a gift to see our son so excited about something so beneficial and positive that he will carry through his whole life.

Thank you, Kirk, for making a difference in our community. Please join the Mills family and Repower in supporting Yolo Farm to Fork.

The Opportunity to Grow Fresh Food and Understanding

[Originally published October 22, 2015]

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

The benefits of all the love, sweat, time, dollars and meticulous care showered upon Holmes Junior High’s garden are rippling outward. Integrated, experiential learning about the beauty of fresh, nutritious food and the art of preparing it deliciously are becoming available to all. Who threw the first stone that is causing all the ripples? Keri Hawkins, Garden Coordinator of Holmes Junior High’s gardening project.

"Thank you for supporting our school gardens! They are a wonderful place for children to unwind and learn through doing."

--Keri Hawkins, Garden Coordinator, Holmes Junior High

In 2012, Keri inherited a neglected, overgrown, weedy mess. But she saw the potential right away to cultivate far more than vegetables, herbs and flowers. The art and cooking classrooms opened to the garden with its courtyard, and the garden could benefit both with gorgeous subjects for still lifes and fresh ingredients for culinary masterpieces and learning about nutrition.

She envisioned the impact the garden could have on the lives of children of all physical and mental abilities. Keri also saw the potential of the garden to provide the enriching experience for collaboration amongst the diverse students. Keri said that her aim is “to make the garden accessible to students of all abilities and to have the students working side by side.”

In 2013, Keri and the students replanted the garden to be low maintenance. In 2014, she had the idea to sell pumpkins in order to raise the money for the gardening program. The Esparto Lions donated the pumpkins and $1,000 was raised, with a matching grant fromTandem Grants. “The garden is truly a community garden. The more people involved, the greater the community ownership of the garden,” she said.

Keri applied her Masters in Architecture to designing tables that were accessible by wheelchair. She gave the designs to Holmes' tech teacher, Lance Gunnersen, and his students, who built the tables and entered them in the State Fair. After the fair, the tables came home to the courtyard next to the garden.

Keri then designed a potting table accessible to all users. She and her enthusiastic team pulled out everything from the existing Zen Garden, a part of the overall garden and courtyard areas, and Dave Leveque, Holmes teacher Deanna Leveque’s husband, built the framework for the Zen Garden. Sadly, with the drought, the water to the garden was cut-off and everything died.

After the potting table came a three-tier planter box, again with the idea that students of all abilities would be able to access it. Avery Phimmasehn, a BoyScout, helped design the planter box, and then built it to achieve his Eagle Scout rank. The planter now boasts seasonal beauty and bounty, replete with beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, kale, lettuce, kohlrabi and cilantro, which are quite often enjoyed immediately after picking.  Special Ed life skills are taught in the garden, where students learn about the tools and feel the utter satisfaction of using them.

The garden and courtyard are thriving, but there one more step before it can be truly accessible to all. In wet weather, the wheelchairs get stuck in the muddy pathways. Keri said that, to remedy this, they need the garden's remaining area graded. And they also need decomposed granite for the space. Please EMAIL KERI if you'd like to help with the grading or donate the decomposed granite. 

Yolo Farm to Fork’s Dig In Yolo! Restaurant Fundraising Campaign makes Davis Farm to School programs possible. For example, last year, Yolo Farm to Fork contributed $250 to Holmes’s garden for garden supplies and plants, with the PTA matching the amount.

These restaurants are digging in to help educate Yolo’s children to live sustainably throughout the month of October. Eat well and help Yolo’s children learn about fresh, healthy food, recycling, and respecting the planet and one another.

Bon  Appétit!

The Savory Café

722-A Main Street, Woodland

DIG IN SPECIAL: Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Lamb Sogu


Café Italia (The Dancing Tomato Café)

1121 Richards Boulevard, Davis

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Maria’s Cantina

306 Sixth Street, Woodland

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Dos Coyotes (both Davis locations)

2191 Cowell Blvd., Davis | 1411 W. Covell Blvd. #7

DIG IN SPECIAL: Banh Mi Taco Plate


Jack’s Urban Eats (All Locations)

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fresh Harvest Salad


Broderick Road House

319 Sixth Street, West Sacramento

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fiesta Burger


Guinivere’s

317 Second Street, Woodland

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Kitchen 428

First and Bush Streets, Woodland

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Osteria Fasulo

2657 Portage Bay East #8, Davis

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!

El Macero Country Club’s Sugar Pie Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Sunlight

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

What does solar energy have to do with Chef Rachael Levine’s Sugar Pie Pumpkin Bread Pudding, her new creation for Yolo Farm to Fork’s Dig In Yolo! Restaurant Campaign? For starters, both benefit Yolo’s children.

RepowerYolo, solar energy locally grown, is a Gold Sponsor of Dig In Yolo! In support of Yolo Farm to Fork’sschool programs, we’re donating $500 for every Yolo Farm to Fork supporter who goes solar with us.

El Macero Country Club’s Chef Levine created her Dig In Yolo! special especially to benefit Yolo Farm to Fork’s school programs. Partake. Enjoy. Invite your friends. For every order of the special, El Macero Country Club donates $5. Gladness! You now have the perfect excuse to eat dessert.

Here is the skinny, straight from El Macero Country Club:

"El Macero Country Club has partnered with Yolo Farm to Fork to open our private dining program to the local community. We are delighted to share our passion for sustainable, healthy living by helping to raise awareness and funding for edible school gardens. Our Club menus feature fresh, seasonally inspired dishes that range from casual and fine cuisine. The month of October features a Sugar Pie Pumpkin Bread Pudding, $5 of each sale will be donated to Yolo Farm to Fork. Please join us Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evenings. Service is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and by reservation only. Club dining room attire is business casual. To make a reservation, please call 530-753-3363.”

Bon Appétit, Yolo County!

RISE and Shine! Dining Out Helps Yolo's Kids

[Originally published October 9, 2015]

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

It really does takes a whole village to raise a child. And we’re continually astounded at the willingness and generosity of Yolo’s citizens to dig in. Whether the harvest is sunshine, vegetables, or healthier living, we celebrate all the good people who are repowering our community with their passion, expertise and time by teaching Yolo’s children to live sustainably. RISE (Recycling Is Simply Elementary) is a Davis Farm to School program that receives support from Yolo Farm to Fork.

Joy Klineberg has been overseeing RISE at Willett Elementary School for four years now, where she trains sixth graders to train their schoolmates to recycle. “When I was PTA president, the recycling role needed filling. I took it on and the rest is history,” she said. Each sixth grader serves two 1-week shifts during the year. The RISE student mans the recycling and trash area to helps their compadres understand what goes where and why. The peer-to-peer approach is really effective.  

Joy donates her stipend for overseeing the schools’ recycling from the District to help fund the sixth graders’ outdoor education week in Pollock Pines. The district pays her stipend from the money recycling saves them. (It’s costly to haul all the garbage away to landfill.)

“RISE gives me a chance to interact with the kids,” she said. “I’m charmed by the little first grader who is trying to throw her sandwich away when no one is looking.” Joy also presents Why Recycling Matters, a PowerPoint, to the school children.

Davis Farm to School’s role is on the administrative side. They advocate for and manage RISE, negotiate the stipend, and provide pilot programs for all the elementary schools. “RISE is in the Davis junior high schools to varying degrees, although most of them don’t do composting,” said Joy.

We love being a Gold Sponsor of Farm to Fork’s Dig In Yolo! Restaurant Fundraising Campaign that raises money for Davis Farm to School’s programs, including RISE. Here’s the skinny. Some Yolo County restaurants have created Dig In Yolo! Specials and, every time you order the special, the restaurant will donate to Davis Farm to School. Other restaurants are contributing in different ways. 

These restaurants are digging in to help educate Yolo’s children to live sustainably throughout the month of October. Bon  Appétit!

The Savory Café

722-A Main Street, Woodland

DIG IN SPECIAL: Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Lamb Sogu


Café Italia (The Dancing Tomato Café)

1121 Richards Boulevard, Davis

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Maria’s Cantina

306 Sixth Street, Woodland

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Dos Coyotes (both Davis locations)

2191 Cowell Blvd., Davis | 1411 W. Covell Blvd. #7

DIG IN SPECIAL: Banh Mi Taco Plate


Jack’s Urban Eats (All Locations)

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fresh Harvest Salad


Broderick Road House

319 Sixth Street, West Sacramento

DIG IN SPECIAL: Fiesta Burger


Guinivere’s

317 Second Street, Woodland

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Kitchen 428

First and Bush Streets, Woodland

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!


Osteria Fasulo

2657 Portage Bay East #8, Davis

MENTION DIG IN YOLO!

Savory Café Digs In to Help Yolo’s Children Learn About the Beauty of Fresh, Local Food

[Originally published October 2, 2015]

By Jennifer Ann Gordon, Repower Yolo's Storyteller

Repower Yolo is a Gold Sponsor of Yolo Farm to Fork's School Programs. When you go solar with us, we'll donate $500.00.

“Yolo County is one of the best places on earth to be, as far as food is concerned. The variety and abundance of fresh food available here is wonderful.”

—Juan Barajas, Co-owner of the Savory Café

Savory Café, located at 722-A Main Street in Woodland, is celebrating the soft launch of their dinner menu tonight—Friday, October 1, 5-9 PM. The restaurant décor has been refreshed and refined, with the staff at the ready, the environment cordial, and the menu reflective of local agricultural.

Savory Café owners, Kristin Hansen and brothers Juan and Tobi Barajas, design their menus to offer healthier alternatives using local produce. The variety and versatility of food grown and harvested in Yolo County inspires them.

Juan and Tobi have come from a long line of passionate cooks. Their mother is the second oldest of fifteen siblings. “My mother learned a lot of wonderful tricks in the kitchen from my grandmother,” said Juan.

Savory’s owners are keenly aware that Yolo Farm to Fork’s program, Davis Farm to School, plays a vital role in teaching our children where healthy food comes from and the creative ways it can be prepared. “We want children to be adventurous eaters and to become familiar with the wide variety of produce available,” said Juan. 

To this end, Savory Café has created a signature, seasonal dish to help raise money for Dig In Yolo!Yolo Farm to Fork’s fundraising campaign—to support its  Davis Farm to School gardening and RISE (Recycling is Simply Essential) programs.

Magic happens when culinary creativity and mastery combines with locally-resourced ingredients. Enter Savory Café’s tender, seasonal dish of Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi, with Skyelark Ranch Lamb Sugo (a classic meat sauce), their lovingly created Dig In Yolo! special. Savory Café will donate a percentage of each Dig In Yolo! special ordered to Yolo Farm to Fork to help sustain their school programs.

Yes! Organic Butternut Squash Gnocchi, with Skyelark Ranch Lamb Sugo made with wine and aromatic spices. A definite palate pleaser! Supporting Davis Farm to School and RISE is even more delicious, knowing that the lamb was resourced from Skyelark Ranch—a pasture-based livestock ranch in Capay Valley, where the animals are raised humanely and with respect—known for their exceptional quality meat and eggs. Savory Café also offers award-winning wines by Route 3, located in Yolo County’s Dunnigan Hills.

Repower Yolo is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of Dig In Yolo!  Hats off to Yolo Farm to ForkDavis Farm to School, and RISE! Hats off to Savory Café! And hats off to Yolo County for caring so deeply about its children! It’s fascinating and, often, surprising the way everything and everyone are connected…somehow. We love Yolo!

Enjoy your Organic Butternut Gniocchi with Lamb Sugo at Savory Cafe! With every bite, you can smile knowing that you're helping Yolo's children learn how to live sustainably. 

Savory Café’s Breakfast and Lunch Hours:

Monday-Friday       7:30 AM-2 PM

Saturday                 8 AM-2 PM

Sunday                   8 AM-1:30 PM

Beginning on Thursday, October 8, Savory Café’s regular Dinner Hours will be Thursday-Saturday, 5-9 PM.

Savory Café Website

Savory Café on Facebook