Thanks to so much support from our community, Dig! was a huge success! We are still tallying results, but it looks like we netted about $15,000 in funds that will go directly towards providing education programs on the farm for local youth! This event is unique in so many ways, one of which is that we have almost no overhead. Everything is donated: The Chefs skills, and time, the ingredients used to create their delicious masterpieces, all of the silent auction items, the services of Lightfoot Industries, the flowers, the wine, and all of the manpower that brings it all together. Which means almost ALL of the money raised pays for kids to participate in our programs. The result is truly a community achievement. My heartfelt thanks to those who participated whether guest, volunteer, staff or sponsor — you all contributed to a beautiful and successful afternoon.
Here is text of the speech I made at the event, thanking our guests for their support and inspiring them to do even more:
“Does a girl named Yasmin ring any bells for any of you? She is the student from Oaxaca who I mentioned in the invitation letter for this event. I told her story because it so nicely illustrates what we are trying to do through the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program. We have so many high minded and well intentioned goal: to improve childhood nutrition, to foster an environmental ethic, to build and support local, organic food systems, but it only takes one student leaving the farm feeling proud of themselves to know that we have planted a powerful seed.
“Yasmin is a quiet girl, who visited us with the English Language Learners of EA Hall Middle School. She is the kind of student you might not take notice of. She never raises her hand to volunteer an answer. She is always respectful of the guide and of her peers. She is sweet and not overly jovial or somber. Academically, she is middle of the road. She never stands out, which is why when she spoke up during our goat milking activity we all took notice. As we began to introduce our goatherd and explain how to milk, she shyly told us she knew how, then uncharacteristically jumped right in to demonstrate to her fellow students when given the opportunity. She milked the goats with a practiced hand, and impressed the other students with her speed and comfort with our large and sometimes ornery Moonshadow. For the rest of the activity the students directed their questions to Yasmin who deftly answered them. This student who had never seen or seemed to want the spotlight, blossomed when in her element. On the farm, she was in an environment she knew well from her childhood on a ranch in Oaxaca. And here she could be a leader, where in the classroom she just blended in.
“According to her teacher, Ms. Flores, the pride she showed after this encounter on the farm followed her back to the classroom and gave her confidence in both her social and academic endeavors. A pre teen feeling pride in their background, in their family, and in their own knowledge is a rare blessing and a welcome consequence of the work we are doing through the Discovery Program.
“When you make a donation, you are enabling us to reach more students like we did Yasmin. Through our programs kids will become more confident, better eaters, conscious consumers, and maybe even some day producers in a more sustainable, local, and organic food system.
“In 2011, the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program served 1,400 kids, an increase of 75% since 2008. This fall, through our fundraising efforts, LEFDP will host and pay for transportation for 120 third graders and 60 second graders and 60 fifth graders from Ann Soldo Elementary School on East Lake Boulevard. On Monday the 17th we debuted our new Applemania tour with the first group of 60 3rd graders. The tour included apple harvesting, a farm hike, four hands-on, grade level appropriate stations and our new newsletter.
“In this coming year we are building a program, which still needs a name, but I am calling Seeds Become Fruit. It is a three-part project, engaging kids on the farm in hands-on lessons that deepen and expand with the ongoing participation of local students in three farm projects over the course of a year. All of the students who visit the farm will be invited back to one of our annual celebrations. At the celebration, they will be awarded a certificate of participation and the older ones will be junior docents, leading learning stations like the ones they participated in in their first visit. With their Certificate of Participation is an invitation to our Summer Camp and a promise to make camp affordable for as many of the students as we can accommodate. With your help, we could offer more free and reduced fee spots than we do full price.
“At Summer Camp kids get to spend a whole week deepening and expanding their experience of Live Earth Farm. When you give as much as you can tonight, you are making all of our programs accessible to all of the kinds of kids that live in the Pajaro Valley, Monterey and South Bay areas.
“And last but not least if you have more time than money, you can become an LEFDP Docent and help lead these tours and camps, or maintain the discovery garden.
“So, please write a check to LEFDP to make a tax-deductible donation. Everyone has something to offer.”[Readers online can click here and make a donation online.]
And just in case wine dinners are not your thing, we have a few fun events coming up for you too. On October 20th at the LEF 2012 Harvest Celebration we will be serving beer to raise funds for LEFDP along with all of the other fun stuff we always do AND on October 25th Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing will be donating a portion of every pint sold to LEFDP on their “Thank you Thursday”. Tom, Constance, and I along with members of our Board of Directors will be there to enjoy a pint or two with you. RSVP to the event on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LEFDP.