The kids are cooking at home.

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As part of our RootDown LA Youth Leader training (it prepares kids to teach others, lessons about food justice and nutrition, and techniques to make veggies taste better) the students are asked to cook at least two meals at home that include at least three veggies.  These are pics from their home veggie cooking adventures.

Rising Stars at RootDownLA

It’s a beautiful day when I wake up to an e-mail from the amazing board member, Corinna Gebert, who’s also running The Urban Food and Farming Training with Karen Ramirez – Sundays at our community partners, WeCan.  South LA students and our staff spend four hours of their weekend cultivating skills and friendships that will last a lifetime.  Image

Of course good food was involved!   Here’s a quote from the e-mail –

 “Yesterdays garden day with the volunteers was a success, we made some great progress in Bridgette’s garden, made signs and markers for our residential food garden Program, transplanted plugs and six-packs in the WECAN nursery, showed the visitors from Sonoma State all that RootDownLA is up to, had a fantastic lunch cooked by Andres and Kadeyjah and a great time overall!”

 A little earlier in the week, Andres Chopin planned and executed a BRILLIANT meal for the CD 9 Coalition meeting at Nuevo South tonight. 25 Non-profit Executive Directors were completely impressed with the chicken, meatballs, veggie platter, fruit, cucumbers, hummus and guacamole.Image 1

 The feast had no end.Image 3

THANK YOU!  Andres and Johnny, for pulling this off!

Our kids are making us so very proud!

Posted by Mrs. Cook

Farm our Yard indeed.

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We’ve been seeing in the news – folks in other towns indicating they are willing to have SOMEONE plant food in their yard by putting a sign out front, “Farm our Yard”.  In South LA, a group of youth are already on it.  Thanks to NIFA, we are in the midst of our first 13 week training that prepares young people to design, install, maintain and distribute produce from a network of neighborhood gardens.

If you were a pepper…

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If you were a pepper, who would your friends and enemies be? Learning to think like the veggies helps students decide what to plant and where to plant it at RootDown’s horticultural and entrepreneurial training.

You SURE these carrots aren’t nasty?

Said suspect carrots.  Not so nasty after all.

Suspect carrots. Not so nasty after all.

I started RootDown LA because I seemed to have a knack at getting even the most stubborn eaters to eat their veggies.  I never expected, the kids would start coming back at me one day, forcing me to the eat veggies that make MY nose crinkle.  Last month, Chopin put some bitter veggie on a plate and laughed his head off when I tasted, then promptly spit it out.  Everyone else liked it and they weren’t tolerating my resistance, “EAT IT!” they shouted at me. I couldn’t bring myself to do it (so thank GOD I instituted the rule early on – if you REALLY don’t like it, you can spit it out).

Then last week, I was handed a plate from a cooking class at Nuevo South.  Sitting at the edge of the plate were cooked carrots (NOT a favorite, thanks to bad Thanksgiving carrots I ate growing up in Ohio).  My nose crinkled again.  I figured I could choke down the carrots less I offend some of the new students that day.  Wow.  Was I surprised.  The carrots were simply blanched and perfectly seasoned.  I wolfed them down and found myself wanting more but alas, all the students had eaten them up before I could have seconds.

That’s what happens here at RootDown LA – we’re changing minds about nasty veggies – one beet, carrot, onion and nasty (still unknown to me?) bitter cucumber-looking veggie at a time.

We can’t thank you enough!

Our volunteers rock.  Simply said.  Mud, Camille, and Madeline HUGE HEARTS and veggie love to you!   (Not to mention our youth staff who volunteer LOTS of time outside of paid hours – Johnny & Chopin!)  You make days like this possible.

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Back to school with RootDown LA!

RootDown’s afterschool program resumed at Jefferson High this week.  We’ve already converted at least a dozen former tomato, onion and broccoli haters.  RotoDown LA – You’re Gonna Wanna Eat Your Veggies!

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