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Food Matters Newsletter

Food Notes - Summer 2003

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Bringing together community members and organizations
to promote stable food systems and access to healthy,
regionally produced food for all!

Food Matters is connecting kids to farmers this growing season, thanks to funding from two sources.

Chris Bekins, County Department of Health Services, obtained funding for 4th and 5th graders to visit farmers markets in Santa Rosa and Sonoma. We are using the "5 A Day Power Play Campaign" and resources--providing educational materials and activities for before, during, and after the market visits for teachers to use. In addition, Kevin McEnnis of Quetzal Farm will be available for visits to schools to discuss farming, local food, sustainablility, and conduct 5 A Day activities. We have until December 2003 to conduct the farm market tours and farmer visits.

Food Matters also received funding from the Center for Ecoliteracy to take kids out to local farms. We will take classes of students from school districts where there are food service directors who are actively working to make healthier choices available for their students-Petaluma, Windsor, West County, Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. We have until March 2004 to complete these tours.

For more information or to discuss scheduling a tour please contact:
Linda Peterson - (707) 575-6043 x25
Kevin McEnnis can be reached for farmer visits at (707) 823-6788

Cali Calmécac Charter School Garden Program

Thanks to a grant from Chez Panisse Foundation, this year's Garden and Ecology Program at Cali Calmécac Charter School in Windsor, California, has been very successful. A crew of fantastic garden volunteers kept the garden watered and weeded all summer, so school opened in the fall with dozens of crops to harvest. Classes made pico de gallo, chard pizzas, and two Seniors from Windsor High School Culinary Arts program gave over 30 cooking and nutrition lessons to students with crops from the garden and local farmers. Lettuce from the garden was harvested by the students to be served at the school's now daily salad bar, and students in grades K-5 have utilized the garden for integrated science, language arts, social studies, health and nutrition lessons.

Our English-Spanish two-way language immersion school of 900 students has a high proportion of low-income students, which qualified us this year for a Local Incentive Award with the California Nutrition Network. We hope to use our matching grant money to purchase additional cooking equipment, expand the hours for our garden coordinator, provide afterschool programs, improve our school salad bar, and purchase more food from local farmers for demonstrations.

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Coming Events and Meetings

Food Matters of Sonoma County is interested in changing local school food policies to improve nutrition and access to quality food in our schools. The School Food Committee meets the second Tuesday of the month at 3273 Airway Drive - Guild Hall (off Piner Rd) in Santa Rosa. Meetings are open to the public.

Seed Saving & Plant Selection: The Fundamentals of Plant Improvement: Occidental Arts and Ecology Center November 7th to 9th, 2003. This three-day intensive course is designed to teach the skills necessary for the selection and breeding of seed crops so they are better adapted to organic systems and environmental challenges.

For More Information:
Contact Renata Brillinger at OAEC renata@oaec.org
or (707) 874-1557 x 222

Food Matters Needs You!

Food Matters Steering Committee

Chris Bekins - Sonoma County Department of Health Services

Barbara Young - Northern California Center for Well Being

Renata Brillinger - Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Keith Abeles and Kevin McEnnis - Community Alliance with Family Farmers'

Chris Carrier - C2Alternative Services

Linda Peterson - Ventures in Sustainability

James Johnson - Quantum Agriculture Project

Ellen Bauer - Cali Cal Meca School Garden and Ecology Program

JeNe Thomas - Slow Food, Sonoma County

We are looking for a "few great folks" to join us in bringing healthy food to our kids and supporting local agriculture. We have completed a lengthy strategic planning process and are ready to invite fresh talent to help us in this effort. Here are some skills/creativity areas where we need help from our community:

  • Fundraising
  • Computer skills (especially database expertise)
  • Help in creating food policy
  • Help with newsletter and outreach
  • Building local farm capacity to supply our schools and encourage farmers to sell to schools
  • Research
To subscribe to Food Notes, and to receive notices of events, workshops, and meetings, send a blank email to foodmatters-subscribe@topica.com.
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Phone: 707.575.6043
Email: info@food-matters.org
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Photography by Doug Gosling, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.
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