Friday, December 31, 2010

What a difference a year can make...

We are proud to report that in 2010, the public donated a grand total of $6,811.45 to our coin banks throughout Yolo County, which translates into $74,000 of food value that will help our neighbors in need. Incredible!

Thank you very much to all of our local businesses, families, and individuals for allowing us to place the coin banks with you and for generously donating to our cause. You have all helped make a difference in our community and for that we are grateful.

On another happy note, we are very proud of the Food Bank's accomplishments of 2010! This year, the Food Bank established more Moveable Market sites, has added another food distribution site in West Sacramento, opened our Quick & Fresh Market, continued with cooking classes and demonstrations, began a Food Stamp Outreach program, and welcomed new staff and volunteers. With 2011 a day away, we look forward to continuing our outreach and assistance to our neighbors in need in Yolo County.

Best wishes in the New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cauliflower Tabouli

Photo source
This is a wonderful variation on a middle-eastern staple.  All fresh and all raw.  The recipe says it takes 10 minutes to prepare but I think it might take longer than that.  Just chopping a bunch of parlsey would take me 10 minutes!

Cleo, Food Bank Volunteer


1 head cauliflower
2 diced plum tomatoes
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 chopped scallions
1 bunch chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint


Grate the cauliflower into grain-size pieces with a box grater.  Toss with the diced tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, chopped scallions, parsley and mint.  Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cauliflower With Cotija Cheese

This seems to be a fairly quick and easy recipe for cauliflower.  You may not be familiar with Cotija cheese.  It is a hard cheese made from cow's milk that originated in Mexico.  It softens a little bit when heated but does not melt and tends to be a bit salty.  You can find it in any Mexican market (and some supermarkets, depending on where you live).  I found it at my local food coop.  You can substitute Parmesan cheese for it in this recipe. 
Cleo, Food Bank Volunteer


1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


Cook the cauliflower in a large pan of boiling water until barely tender, about 4 minutes.  Drain and return to the pan while hot.

Add the butter, olive oil and salt.  Stir very gently to melt the butter and coat the cauliflower.

Transfer to a shallow serving  bowl or platter.  Sprinkle with the cheese and parsley.  Serve hot.

Serves 4; cooking time 30 minutes

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Whole Enchilada

Last week, Chef Arturo instructed a class of young adults from the Woodland Coalition for Youth in tortilla and enchilada making. His goal was to feature a traditional dish with a more healthful approach to instill the value of nutrition in his students.

The enchiladas were made without oils, using freshly made sauces, fresh veggies, and low fat meat (chicken breast) and cheeses. Another great attribute to the class was the “hands on” aspect of learning. Each student, from the Woodland Coalition for Youth in collaboration with Tuleyome, was responsible for some portion of the meal which created a nice energy in the kitchen and encouraged conversation among students, adults, and Chef Arturo.

If you're interested in having your organization participate in a cooking class, please contact Arturo Vargas at for more information.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Low Carb Cauliflower Leek Soup

An easy and delicious soup combining cauliflower and leeks as an alternative for potato leek soup.  If you wish, you can substitute either regular milk or unsweetened soy milk for the cream.  I have had very successful results using soy milk when making potato leek soup.  It was suggested by others who made this recipe to reduce the broth to 6 cups for a thicker texture to the soup.  This recipe takes an hour and fifteen minutes to make and serves 12.
Cleo, Food Bank Volunteer
Photo source

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, cut into 1 inch squares
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional)


1.  Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat and saute the leeks, cauliflower and garlic for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 mintues.

2.  Remove the soup from the heat.  Blend the soup with an immersion blender or hand mixer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix in the heavy cream and continue blending until smooth.

Recipe source:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

This sounds like a wonderful way to prepare cauliflower.  It received a high rating on the site.  I  have seen a similar recipe calling for 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar added just before the broiling stage.  And feel free to add other seasonings--marjoram was one that was suggested.
-- Cleo, Food Bank Volunteer


2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Photo Source

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).  Grease a large casserole dish.

2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a large reusable bag.  Add cauliflower and shake to mix.  Pour into the prepared casserole dish and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring half way through.  Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you know the face of hunger?

Photo courtesy of Feeding
Last week, the USDA reported that more than 50 million Americans (including 17 million children) come from food insecure homes. To shed light on the reality of the new faces of hunger, Feeding America has partnered with the Ad Council to launch a series of PSAs featuring celebrities including Matt Damon and Taye Diggs. The purpose of these advertisements is to create awareness about hunger and inspire Americans to take action.

The message in each PSA is that the face of hunger can look like anyone: our neighbors, teachers, co-workers, etc. Each ad features a true story portrayed by a celebrity, and the goal is to break stereotypes about those who go hungry in America. Produced pro bono by Cutwater, the PSAs will begin to appear on television in early 2011 and were created as part of the national Hunger Prevention campaign.

To view the PSAs, please click here to be directed to our YouTube page.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Running of the Turkeys 2010

We are thrilled at this year’s turn out for the 2nd Annual Running of the Turkeys. Thank you to everyone who braved the weather and spent the morning with us. There were 230 registrants, 43 turkeys donated, and more than $14,000 was raised.

A huge thank you to our event organizers: Janine Rogers, Emily Rogers Riley, and the Volunteer Committee for making this a successful day.

We would also like to thank our wonderful sponsors. Thank you for your support!

$1,000 or more
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
BZ-Bee Pollination, Inc.
Joe Muller & Sons
Payne Farms
UD Davis Dining Services
Woodland Healthcare
Yolo County YMCA
Yolo Federal Credit Union

$500 or more
AgSeeds Unlimited
Duane Chamberlain Farms
Gayle Manufacturing
J.H. Meek & Sons
Jose & Julia Martinez
Tom & Shelley Muller
Turold International
Wallace Farms

$250 or more
Slice of Pie
Arthritis Foundation
Carter Hay & Straw
Darrell & Heidi Aoki
Hunter Ad Specialties
Jamba Juice
Mezger Grain
TS&L Seed

Monday, November 22, 2010

California's Lost Dollars

According to a new study released last week, less than half of eligible Californians participate in CalFresh*, including 23,352 in Yolo County. Despite the fact that CalFresh utilization has increased during the recession, the state is missing out on nearly $5 billion ($30,424,909 lost in Yolo County) due to lack of participation.

The USDA ranked California the lowest in federal nutrition assistance participation. According to George Manalo-LeClair, Senior Director of Legislation at CFPA, Californians in need are missing out on funding because of institutional barriers. California still requires more paperwork than any other state and more trips to CalFresh offices.

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has introduced legislation to encourage California to embrace more simplified requirements like the 49 other states. An easier method of participation in the CalFresh program could also benefit the state’s economy, as every $1 in CalFresh benefits generates $1.79 in local economic activity.

Click here for more information and to read the full report.

In light of these statistics, the Food Bank of Yolo County has recently initiated a Food Stamp Outreach program to educate our neighbors in need about potential eligibility, the steps to enroll, and to dispel myths about the program.

*CalFresh, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, will begin to be adopted throughout California. At this time, Yolo County continues to refer to it as the Food Stamp Program while the transition is being made.

For any questions regarding CalFresh, please contact our Food Stamp Outreach Coordinator:

Maria Maldonado
(530) 668-0960

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Clean Your Plate

As Thanksgiving approaches and our pantries become overloaded, it can be easy to over-buy and overeat. The next time you over-order at your favorite restaurant or over-spend at the grocery store, consider this: 40% of the food produced in America is thrown away.

Photo Source

What Others Are Doing

Campus Kitchens Project
There are currently 25 schools participating in this student-run project where they deliver food what would have otherwise been wasted to those in need. Students gather food from cafeterias and assemble them into meals. They not only gain skills in meal preparation, cooking, nutrition, fundraising, and management, but also serve their communities in this outstanding way.

For more information, please visit:

On-site Food Waste Recycling
The GaiaRecycle G-30H system was recently introduced by GaiaRecycle, LLC of Palo Alto, California, in order to address the food waste problems that primarily occurs at primary schools and small restaurants. With the push of a button, the G30H recycles mixed food scraps and organic waste including small bones (chicken, fish, etc.), fruits, vegetables, starches, egg shells, and all liquids PLUS milk or juice cartons, napkins, and plastic utensils. All of this is done without causing jamming and it minimizes downtime and lowers overall maintenance/operation costs. During the 8 hour processing cycle, it eliminates odors and cuts down volume by 90%, making the compost sterile and easy to handle.

For more information, please visit:

What You Can Do

• Freeze leftovers within 2 hours after being cooked in order to maintain quality.
• Avoid over-stuffing refrigerator/freezer and rotate items that expire sooner to the front
• If buying in bulk, purchase foods with long shelf lives (canned foods, rice, beans, etc.)
• Implement a rule in your household that eliminates leaving scraps behind, like a few potato chips at the bottom of the bag or a small amount of milk in the carton.
• Resist impulse buying at the grocery store and only buy what’s on your list.
• Plan meals ahead of time to avoid deviating from a shopping list.
• Store your food properly. Make sure food storage containers are closed and refrigerate/freeze if necessary.
• Control your portions by preparing only what you need. If there are leftovers, take them for lunch the following day.
• Learn a new recipe! There are many great resources online for preparing meals for a specific number of people, meals with leftovers, and meals that use those pesky vegetables that you aren’t sure how to prepare.
• Turn food waste into compost.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Slightly more Yolo kids living below poverty line

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy
October 17th, 2010
Enterprise staff writer
reprint courtesy of the Davis Enterprise

There's good news and bad news about Yolo County children in the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures on poverty and health care.

The bad news: The percentage of children in Yolo County living below the poverty line increased slightly in 2009, as did the percentage of families living in poverty.

According to recently released figures, the poverty rate for children under age 18 rose from 13.4 percent in 2008 to 14 percent last year, while the percentage of families in poverty increased from 7.8 percent to 8.7 percent.

The poverty rate is defined as an annual income of $18,310 for a family of three, $22,050 for a family of four.

The numbers actually improved for Yolo County's youngest children: The poverty rate for children under age 5 decreased from 19.7 percent to 15.2 percent, though the margin of error also was higher for that age group.

All of the poverty figures remain lower — and in some cases significantly lower — than the period from 2005-07 when the poverty rate for Yolo County children under age 5 was as high as 28.5 percent, according to the census.

Health insurance rates

Yolo County also is doing better than the rest of the state in terms of both child poverty and the percentage of children with health insurance. Statewide last year, 19.9 percent of children under age 18 and 22 percent of children under age 5 were living in poverty and almost 10 percent lacked health insurance.

In Yolo County, that number was only 4.5 percent, or about 2,053 children without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau.

The advocacy group Children Now recently reported that number has dropped further in 2010, putting Yolo in the top third of counties statewide in terms of the number of children with health insurance.

Program serves area kids

It's no surprise to folks from First 5 Yolo and the Yolo County Children's Alliance, partners in the effort to provide health insurance to all low-income Yolo County children through the Children's Health Initiative.

Since the initiative was started in 2006, 2,472 children have been enrolled in one of four health insurance programs for low-income families in Yolo County: Healthy Families, Medi-Cal, Healthy Kids and the Kaiser Child Health Plan. Children whose parents earn 300 percent or less of the federal poverty level are eligible for at least one of the programs.

That success is largely the result of excellent collaboration throughout the county, according to Jackie Hausman, program coordinator for First 5 Yolo, which covers Healthy Kids' premiums for children under age 5 through tobacco tax proceeds.

Funds covering children ages 6 to 18 come from a variety of sources, including the Blue Shield Foundation, Yolo County, local foundations, cities and individual donors. Kaiser Permanente also provides children unlimited access to the Kaiser Child Health Plan.

“We have great partnerships and collaboration with social services and other agencies,” Hausman noted.

In particular, she cited the efforts by Maria Romero of the Children's Alliance to find and enroll children throughout the county without health insurance.

“Maria has done an excellent job with outreach,” Hausman said.

Romero said those efforts are indeed widespread. “Whatever opportunity we get, we take advantage of it,” she explained.

That means being at community events, food assistance distribution centers and community clinics, as well as getting referrals from Head Start programs, schools and other social service agencies.

No wait list for insurance

It's largely a matter of finding the families and helping them with all the necessary paperwork, Romero said, since the insurance itself is readily available through the Children's Health Initiative without any current wait lists.

In fact, both women said, there should not be a single child in Yolo County lacking health insurance.

According to Romero, the bulk of children currently without health insurance live in Woodland and West Sacramento, as well as small rural communities. Actual numbers are very hard to come by, Hausman said, since the Healthy Kids Survey used to determine those figures is largely unreliable in counties as small as Yolo.

She adds, though, that she is certain the number of children who have lost a parent's employer-based insurance is on the rise in this down economy. “I'm 100 percent sure those numbers are going up,” she said.

However those families may be harder to reach, Romero noted, since their parents may be less likely to come forward for assistance. “They're just embarrassed,” she said.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at or (530) 747-8051. Comment on this story at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

So whaddya know about squash?

Squash is low fat and offers an ample doese of dietary fiber, which makes it a heart and diet-friendly food.  in addition to being vibrant and flavorful, squash packs a mean vitamin punch! 

Squash is a wonderful source for vital vitamins and nutrients like potassium (important for bone health) vitamin B6 (essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems) and folate (an important nutrient in the prevention of birth defects).

Squash is also a great source of vitamin A, a very good source of vitamin C,  manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, thiamin, copper, vitamin B5 and niacin. 

One of the most abundant nutrients in squash is beta carotene  - an important antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that has been shown to help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body.

WHEN BUYING SQUASH: Choose squash that are firm and fairly heavy for their size, otherwise they may be dry and cottony inside.  Look for squash that hve bright, glossy exteriors, and avoid buying squash taht have nicks or bruises on their skins, as well as ones that have soft spots.

WHEN STORING SQUASH:  Different kinds of squash store for different lengths of time.  For instance, acorn squash may be stored for 2 weeks in a refrigerator, and up to four days one it has been cut open.  Butternut squash and pumpkins may be sotred for up to 2-3 months.  Also, avoid storing squash near apples, avocados or passionfruit, as they are known ripening agents that release ethylene gas.

For more infomation about the health benefits of squash, please contact our Moveable Market team and be sure to stop by one of their sites.  Take a peek at their October schedule to find out when they'll be in your neck of the woods! 

And be sure to check out our Myspace blog every Friday during the month of October for delicious, innovative recipes featuring squash!

Monday, October 4, 2010

FOCUS ON HEALTH: Taking action against hunger

By Tom Richardson

September 26th, 2010
Reprint Courtesy of The Davis Enterprise

September brings about another change in season, the days have begun to shorten, the harvests will begin to slow down, and schools have resumed. September is also Feeding America's “Hunger Action Month,” an effort to mobilize the public to end hunger in the United States.

This is the month where we should be increasing our awareness of those in need, learning about local efforts to fight hunger including the Food Bank of Yolo County, and seeking support from you to take action.

As we are all painfully aware, the economy has suffered immensely over the past couple of years. Locally the unemployment rate exceeds the national average, and where people do have work, hours and or pay have been reduced. We are getting by with less, and in many cases prioritizing our expenditures.

Many people, especially those on fixed incomes, must decide between food, medicine or shelter if they can't afford everything. This is not new, but it is much more prevalent today, with a much larger demographic. In fact, the latest report for households that required food assistance was 12.2 percent.

Imagine that; more than one in 10 households has either gone to a food pantry or eaten a meal at an emergency kitchen. These are not programs set up by the government; they were created because of people's actions rather than talk.

We are very fortunate in this country, as many organizations have been created to meet the needs of those less fortunate with grace and compassion. Many began as dreams of regular everyday people that “saw a need” and filled it. This is the case of the Food Bank of Yolo County, which began as a food pantry in Davis 40 years ago.

The mission of the food bank is “To alleviate hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County.” Over the years, the food bank has expanded its operations as the need of those we support has changed. The Food Bank supports nearly 70 different agencies within the county including food pantries, food closets, and other charitable organizations. The food bank acts as a central clearinghouse for donated food and passes on the savings to others: the Food Bank knows how to stretch a dollar.

In the past few years, the food bank has expanded its operations to include programs on site and across the county. The Movable Market is a way in which fresh produce is delivered to low-income families at specific sites throughout the county. in Rural Food Delivery, 25-pound boxes of food are delivered to low-income people in rural parts of the county.

Friday's Table delivers fresh produce to five sites that distribute it to individuals. There are many other programs, including cooking classes, nutrition education and gardening classes offered at the food bank.

When the economy turns around, and it will, we will continue to see a need to keep people fed. In the meantime, as we grow our awareness of hunger in our midst through Hunger Action Month across the nation, consider what action you can take to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

Visit for more ideas on how you can take action.

— Tom Richardson is the president of the Board of Directors for the Food Bank of Yolo County

Friday, October 1, 2010

Make A Difference Day 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of Make A Difference Day, the nation's largest day of community service. On that special day, millions of Americans will unite in a common mission to imrprove the lives of others.

Community Harvest Food Drive

According to one survey nearly 30,000 Yolo County residents, including children, low-income families, seniors on fixed incomes, people living with HIV or AIDS, the homeless and people struggling to move from welfare to work, live with the threat of hunger. In celebration of “Make A Difference Day 2010,” Sacramento Logistics LLC (a subsidiary of C & S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.) has joined forces with the Food Bank of Yolo County in a county-wide food drive benefiting hungry families in our community!

WHAT: A day-long food drive. Residents throughout Davis, Woodland and the surrounding areas are encouraged to bring any quantity of non-perishable food items on that day

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 9:00AM – 2:00PM

WHERE: Food Bank of Yolo County, 1244 Fortna Avenue, Woodland, CA 95776

* The items we need donated the most include: Tuna/Canned Meat, Peanut Butter, Pasta, Pasta Sauce, Canned Fruit & Vegetables, Cereal, Fruit Juice, Rice, Canned Soup (no items packaged in glass, please!)

*Volunteers will be needed to help spread the word, as well as work the day of the event to collect donations and to distribute information about the Food Bank.

*This is a great opportunity for groups, families and residents, in general, to come together in support of our neighbors in need. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Sue Raddatz via phone
(916) 373 - 4238, or Teryl Warren at: (530) 668- 0690.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seeds of hope: Master Gardeners help feed the hungry

Missed Friday's Enterprise?  Check out this reprint of Patty Rominger's fabulous feature story and stop by the Food Bank to check out the Master Gardeners in action in classes & in our Demonstration Garden!

By Patty Rominger
Special to The Enterprise
September 24, 2010 09:16

Courtesy of the Davis Enterprise

Hunger hurts. It hurts children, families, the elderly, the ill and those on the edge or those homeless. According to the Food Bank of Yolo County, 30,000 Yolo County residents live with the threat of hunger. But government officials, business leaders and volunteers continue to work together toward a goal of ending hunger across the nation.

One group of local volunteers, busy planting seeds of hope and help for the hungry, are the Yolo County Master Gardeners. They're familiar faces at local farmers markets, offering answers and advice for seasonal gardening questions. What many people do not realize, however, is the role the Master Gardeners play in alleviating hunger.

Yolo County Master Gardener Cidney Barcellos tells how she got involved in feeding the hungry. A longtime member of the Davis United Methodist Church, she was invited by a fellow church member to visit a garden at a church in Santa Rosa. The fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs harvested from this garden had fed hungry people in Santa Rosa for more than 20 years.

After touring that garden, 'I felt called to provide food for the homeless and those living on the edge,' Barcellos said. 'I know that one of the first things to be diminished or eliminated from their grocery lists is fresh produce, and yet it is so much better for you and the taste is incomparable to canned vegetables.'

Barcellos teamed up with fellow Master Gardener Gwen Oliver and started a garden at the church on Anderson Road. Last spring, they began donating produce to the Friday's Harvest program administered through the Davis Korean Church. At that time, Friday's Harvest was handing out 70 to 80 bags of produce to the needy each week. With the extra food from the Davis UMC's Grace Garden, that number has grown to 100 to 120 bags distributed each week.

The church garden has four, 4-by-50-foot beds, four raised beds and a demonstration area. The current plan is to double the garden size so even more fresh produce can be given to Friday's Harvest.

Many hands pitch in to keep this garden going, and Barcellos and Oliver are happy to welcome new volunteers from the church and community, regardless of their gardening experience.

At Woodland Community College, Master Gardeners have a working demonstration garden and orchard that they use for teaching the public about successful home gardening techniques. Four Master Gardeners led by Steve Radosevich, as well as students in Jim Schulte's horticulture classes, meet at the college garden every Wednesday morning to harvest the food grown there.

'In early August we started donating extra produce - squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplant - to the Food Bank of Yolo County,' Radosevich said. 'Two weeks ago, we made our largest delivery of 184 pounds of food and we estimate our total to date to be about 450 pounds.'

Thanks to the efforts of Master Gardener Florentino Castellon, the college garden also donates about the same amount of food to the Child Development Center at WCC. Nearly 40 children ages 2 to 5, offspring of full-time and part-time WCC students, are enrolled.

Anna Weidling of the Child Development Center says, 'Teaching our students about healthy eating is a top priority. We serve three healthy homemade meals a day to our students, including fresh vegetables grown right here on our campus by the Master Gardeners.

'The children have helped with some of the planting and have enjoyed watching the vegetables grow. And because of the abundance of food, we have been able to offer our parents vegetables to take home and serve to their families, again reinforcing our teaching of healthy eating and the garden-to-food connection.'

Radosevich and Master Gardener Robert Dragoon also have started a demonstration 'square foot' garden at the Food Bank of Yolo County, with the goal of encouraging food recipients to grow their own vegetables. A 'square foot' garden is somewhat like a patchwork quilt, with each square foot planted with a different variety of vegetable. A surprisingly large amount of food can be grown in relatively small spaces using 'square foot' gardening practices, the gardeners say.

Master Gardeners also are at work feeding the hungry in Davis. In 2006, a community effort began to bring new life to the Central Park Gardens in Davis. The redeveloped area on B Street now features seven themed gardens with a variety of California natives, wildlife-attracting, drought-tolerant and edible plantings.

Master Gardener volunteers maintain, plant and harvest the seasonal edible plantings garden where vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers thrive in the sunny environment. All of the garden's harvest is donated to Davis Community Meals, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization whose mission is to provide low-income and homeless individuals and families with housing, food and human services.

Using the fresh produce donated, Davis Community Meals serves meals prepared by volunteers every Tuesday evening and Saturday afternoon at the Episcopal Church of St. Martin. About 30 people are served at each meal.

'In the spring and summer, warm-season crops such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, basil, melons, cucumbers, squash and sunflowers are the major contributions,' says Peg Smith, a Master Gardener volunteer at the Davis Central Park Gardens. 'At the end of the 2009 summer season, more than 20 butternut squash weighing approximately 2 1/2 pounds each were donated. That made a lot of soup!'

In the fall and winter, cool-season crops are donated, including a wide variety of leafy greens, broccoli, onions, radishes and beets. By rotating crops and planting continuous seasonal plantings, the Davis Central Park Gardens vegetable garden has developed into a year-round garden and will continue to provide fresh produce donations all year.

Efforts are also under way in West Sacramento to establish gardens at two elementary schools and at River City High School. These gardens will provide a source of fresh produce to students and their families, as well as educate students on where and how food is produced.

Also, through October, the Urban Farm Stand is selling fresh produce in the Broderick neighborhood of West Sacramento, which is underserved by traditional grocery stores. Leftover produce is donated to the Food Bank of Yolo County. Active participants in these efforts have included Yolo County Master Gardeners Fred Deneke, Henry Garcia-Alvarez, Del Giese, Leslie Olaya, Jan Resier and Don and Diane Rake.

For more information about the Yolo County Master Gardener program, call the Yolo County Cooperative Extension Office in Woodland at (530) 666-8143 or visit

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kids Can!

The Food Bank is proud to be one of the non-profit organizations participating in this, the 20th anniversary year, of KCRA 3's Kids Can Food Drive!  Each year at this time, dozens of schools in the Greater Sacramento Region host student-run food drives on their respective campuses to benefit local food banks and other non-profit organziations.  Last year, we received more than 2,450 pounds of food from KIDS CAN, and we look forward to an even bigger year, this year!  Please support the following Yolo County schools in their efforts for this year's Kids Can:






To learn more about Kids Can, please visit:


Friday, September 17, 2010

There's Still Time to Take Action!

The latest studies show that more than 49 million Americans currently live in food insecure households--16 million of whom are children.

As you may already know, September is Hunger Action Month.  National sponsors like Kraft Foods, Macy's, The Cheesecake Factory and United Airlines have all launched targeted Hunger Action Month campaigns to raise both funds and awareness in the fight to alleviate hunger.

Throughout the month, Feeding America's nationwide network of more than 200 food banks--including the Food Bank of Yolo County--is also working to engage citizens to take action through the 30 Ways in 30 Days campaign.  Follow us on Twitter, or check out our Facebook page for daily posts throughout the month for innovative, doable "ways" that you can help make a difference.

Although the month is roughly halfway over, there's still time for YOU to take action! 

Please partner with us and pledge to help fight domestic hunger. From hosting a food drive, to making a donation, each of us can do something to help feed hungry families.  For more information about Hunger Action Month, please visit, or contact us today at (530) 668-0690.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do Some Good! It's Easier Than Ever 'Cause Paper = Food

Did you know that one in four children in California don't get enough food daily to meet their nutritional needs?  The recession has hit food banks as hard as it has Wall Street.  We're fortunate here in Yolo County to have a community that supports its local food bank.  And, thanks to the generosity of Boise  Business Products, it's easier than ever to lend your support!

You can help your company, your environment and your community all at the same time, because each time you buy a case of 30% or 100% recycled paper, Give Something Back and Boise, Inc. will donate $1 to the [ local] Food Bank!

As the San Francisco Food Bank's Paul Ash said recently on KOIT radio, "At first we really weren't expecting much, but [in six months] we received $25,000."  With a donation like that, the Food Bank of Yolo County can provide $275,000 worth of food to hungry people in our community!

We're asking businesses, schools, organizations and ANYONE who uses paper to please Celebrate Hunger Action Month by joining us in support of this initiative.  After all, you're gonna buy paper, anyway...might as well help the environment and hungry families in the process, right?   Get your Boise Business Products account today and start giving back!

As a special thank you:  the first 10 respondents who confirm their new Boise Inc. account number by emailing it to us at: will get a complimentary copy of Shipley Walters' new book From Pantry to Food Bank: The First Forty Years.  (Account numbers will be used exclusively for confirmation, and will not be kept or used by the Food Bank)

To get started, simply call 888-456-GIVE, or visit today!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Think You Know Bell Peppers?

As you know, bell peppers are our Veggie of the Month for September.

But did you know they are also an excellent source of Vitamin A and C--two very powerful antioxidants that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and several cancers?

Vitamin C, of course, helps boost our immune system; and Vitamin A is a critical support for eye and skin health. But did  you know that bell peppers have more Vitamin C than oranges? That's right, and this "miracle food" also contains lycopene and betacryptoxathin --both of which have been found to lower the risk of certain cancers.

And that's not all!  Bell peppers are also rich in dietary fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Folate, and small amounts of Vitamin K--which plays an important role in bone health.  So now that you're up to speed on the wonders of bell peppers, it's time to start enjoying them.  Before you go and grab one, here's what you need to know...

When buying bell peppers: Select bell peppers that are firm, glossy and plump. Make sure that they have no blemishes or soft spots. The flesh should be brightly colored and should yield to gentle pressure.

When storing bell peppers: Bell peppers can be stored without being washed in your refrigerator, where they will keep for approximately a week. However you should wash bell peppers if you plan to freeze them. For maximum flavor and nutritional value, store them whole.

Check out our Myspace blog at every Friday during the month of September for new creative and delicious ways you can enjoy bell peppers!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Proper Nutrition Is Critical for Growing Minds and Bodies

Missed the August edition of our column in the Davis Enterprise?  Enjoy the reprint, here!

Proper Nutrition Is Critical for Growing Minds and Bodies


Frances Johnson

Special to The Enterprise
Published: August 29, 2010

As the new school year begins this month, many of us may reflect back on fond memories of the "back to school" routine: new clothes, new books and freshly sharpened pencils; the anticipation of a new teacher, new friends, and a new schedule. But for the one in five children in Yolo County facing food insecurity — the government's label for what we commonly know as hunger — returning to school may not be something to look forward to.

On the first day of school, children experiencing hunger will have already fallen behind their classmates. These children will have more difficulty concentrating in class, be more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems, be sick more often during the school year, and struggle with low educational achievement.

Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children, which is of particular concern for children in low- income families. And the consequences of child hunger extend far beyond this school year. Children who grow up poor are more likely to be unemployed and to receive public assistance as adults, continuing the cycle of poverty.

Ending child hunger is an investment in America's future. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama announced a goal of ending childhood hunger in America by the year 2015. Since taking office, President Obama and other members of the Administration have reiterated that commitment. The Food Research and Action Center, a national policy and advocacy group, has put forth seven essential strategies for achieving this goal. These strategies focus both on improving and expanding the nation's nutrition programs, and bolstering the economy and strengthening supports for working families in order to move more out of poverty, the root cause of hunger.

Many of these opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of schoolchildren are included in the federal Child Nutrition Reathorization Act which is currently making its way through Congress. This important legislation covers funding and nutritional guidelines for the school breakfast and lunch program, after school sites, and summer meals in addition to more innovative ideas like farm to school programs which have had such success locally.

But while policies and priorities are discussed and debated at the national level, the Food Bank of Yolo County is working to address childhood hunger here in our local community every day. Through our partnerships with schools, day cares, and other organizations serving children we are working to ensure that the children of Yolo County have the nourishment they need to grow and learn

We can solve child hunger in our community. Together, we can ensure that all children get the nutritious meals they need every day and provide a better tomorrow for children in need.

— Frances Johnson is the director of programs at the Food Bank of Yolo County

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Second Annual Running of the Turkeys - SAVE THE DATE!



Come celebrate the holidays with Woodland’s own
“Running of the Turkeys” family fun event benefiting the Food Bank of Yolo County!  

This year’s Second Annual Running of the Turkeys at Nelson's Grove promises to be even bigger than before. You won’t want to miss a moment!

Stay tuned for more details - including sponsor, vendor and Family Fun Fair information!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Taste For Your Senses Cooking Class Schedule

September 2010 Schedule

We've got one month under our belt, and the reviews have been nothing short of FABULOUS!

Kick off you Fall with flavor and sign up for one of Chef Arturo Vargas' amazing classes TODAY!

All classes cost $30, materials included

* Wednesday, September 8  - 6:00pm-8:00pm
Tamale Class

Join us to learn how to make a healthy upgrade to a delicious favorite: Oaxaca-style vegetarian, wrapped in banana leaves.

* Thursday, September 16  - 6:00pm to 8:00pm  
Mexican Independence Day Enchilada Class

What’s the difference between Oaxaca, Puebla, and Guerrero? Learn how to prepare authentic and healthy red, black, and green enchiladas.

*Tuesday, September 21 -  6:00pm-8:00pm
Veggie Thai
Come and learn how to give your healthy vegetables the flair of Thai flavors.

*Wednesday, September 29  - 6:00pm-8:00pm

Pasta is an easy, inexpensive dish to make but can become a boring routine. This class focuses on simple upgrades to add color, flavor, and nutrition.

Contact us at (530)-668-0690, or
Space is limited, so DON'T DELAY!

Food Fight!

"Food fight!!"  Those who are of a certain age will fondly recall the late John Belushi nealry inciting a riot with those two simple words in National Lampoon’s raucous comedy Animal House.  But as parents and students settle in to the new school year, there is another, more insidious food fight brewing: that between lunch versus dinner...or, more accurately, nutrition versus finance.

"In the effort to raise Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids, we don't want to risk compromising their dinner to improve their lunch."  This was the sentiment recently expressed by Nancy Rice, president of the School Nutrition Association (SNA) in the wake of the announcement that Congress had passed the Child Nutrition Reauthorization legisltaion that would, in essence, fund child nutrition programs by slashing SNAP (food stamps) benefits.  In a signed letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one hundred six Representatives expressed outrage at being "forced to choose between jobs and healthcare or food for hungry people."  The signatories went on to say, "This is one of the more egregious cases of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and is a vote we do not take lightly."  The bill, passed by unaniomous consent without debate or a voice vote, would add an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years to, among other things, improve meal quality for school lunches.  More than $2 billion of the added funds to the school programs will be generated by reducing food stamp benefits.

The latest studies show that, as of May of this year, participation in the food stamps program reached a record high 40 million people.  Incidentally, the program has set records for participation for 18 straight months. As we brace for the crunch that increased need, coupled with decreased food stamp benefits will undoubtedly cause, we urge you to continue supporting the Food Bank and other organziations throughout Yolo County who work diligently to feed our community's hungry and chronically poor residents.  To learn more about the various ways you can help, please contact us today at (530) 668-0690 or visit us on the web at:

(Data Courtesy of Foodlinks America)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Help! I Seem To Have Lost $14 billion!

In what is being billed as an unprecedented amount of proposed budgets cuts, federal lawmakers are now considering reducing food stamp funding to the tune of a staggering $14.1 billion over 10 years.  The proposed cuts would diminish the current average monthly food stamp benefits for an average family of 4 from $133.77, to $59 per month. 

Read the entire story here:

Friday, August 20, 2010

FREE Summer Gardening Tips Class!

H.E.A.L Program

Presented By: Steve Radosevich & Robert Dragoon

Come and learn at an interactive workshop class in conjunction with Food Bank of Yolo County about summer and winter gardening strategies and techniques!

DATE:  August 25, 2010

TIME:  10:30am-11:30am

WHERE:  1244 Fortna Avenue, Woodland, CA 95776

For more information, and to confirm your attendance, please contact: Jessica Trumble at: 
or via phone: (530) 350-2599.

Drop in for a few minutes or an hour with your gardening questions!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Interactive Food Preserving Class!

H.E.A.L Program

Presented By:  Florentino Castellon

Come and learn at an interactive workshop class in conjunction with Food Bank of Yolo County about the best ways to preserve food!

 August 18, 2010


At the Food Bank!
1244 Fortna Avenue,
Woodland, CA 95776

For more information, please contact:
Jessica Trumble at: 
or via phone number:
(530) 350-2599.  

How Well Do You Know Melon?

Melons are rich in iron, contain twice the calcium that spinach has and has twice the amount of potassium that bananas have. Melons contain lots of Vitamin A, which is very important for several functions of the body.  Melons are a good source of Vitamin C, have a high water content, are relatively low in calories, and also fat and cholesterol-free.

When shopping for a Honeydew Melon, choose one whose skin has a slight waxy feel to it which means it is ripe.  They will be firm with a small amount of softness at the stem and will be fairly large.  Those that weigh about 5 pounds have the best flavor and sometimes the seeds of an especially sweet melon will rattle when shaken.

Good quality Watermelons will be firm, evenly-shaped, and heavy for its size.  The flesh of cut melons should have a fresh, firm texture, and the seeds should be fully mature and hard.  Watermelons do not ripen any further when they are cut from the vine.  Avoid watermelons that are partially pale green or white, soft overall, or that are leaking white fluid.

Good Cantaloupes will have yellow/orange coloring and be slightly soft on the stem and firm elsewhere.  The longer a cantaloupe stays on the vine, the sweeter it will be.  Avoid choosing a cantaloupe with green coloring, soft or sunken spots, or dark and dirty spots that look moldy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just Getting By

A recent report released by Foodlinks America stated that a staggering 61% of Americans claim to currently be living paycheck-to-paycheck.  To "make ends meet" today, 21%  of workers say they have had to forego putting money into retirement or savings accounts during the past six months. 

And, among those who have actually managed to save, almost half of them could only afford to sock away less than $100 per month.  This means, not only is their current economic situation a precarious one, but their entire futures could likely be compromised, as well.

In past times, it may have been easy for us to dissociate ourselves from statistics like this. 

However, it's clear that, as a society, apathy and blissful ignorance are luxuries that we can no longer afford.

Here at the Food Bank, the county-wide reversal of fortune we've witnessed is nothing short of shocking. Friends and neighbors who had once become donors have now, sadly, become our consumers. 

And, according to Foodlinks America, 61% of us are only a paycheck away from sharing their fate. That said, perhaps it's  time we begin to view the Food Bank - not simply as a community charity - but also,  as a community investment.  

For every dollar donation we receive, we're able to convert it into $11 worth of nurtritious food; and more than 70 food closets, soup kitchens and shelters rely on our resources to provide direct-service to thousands of homeless and chronically poor families throughout our region.

The Food Bank's ability to serve the community depends on the generosity of the volunteers, donors and businesses who help us achieve our mission.  This is one investment whose return is immediately apparent.  Giving back to the community is more than just helping those who are currently less fortunate than you.  By supporting the Food Bank, each of us is also ensuring that, in our potential time of need, there will be a vibrant organization in place to provide the critical support upon which our own families may be forced to depend.

If you would like to learn more about the many ways you can contribute to our community by partnering with the Food Bank, please contact us today.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quilting for a Cause at the Yolo County Fair THIS WEEK!

Did you know the word "quilt" is derived from the Latin "culcita," meaning "a padded and tied mattress?" 

Quilts were originally made for their utility, as the technique produces a thick padded fabric -  either for warmth or for protection. Quilts have also been used as vivid storytelling canvases--literally weaving histories and narratives into perpetuity.

Thanks to Mrs. Janet Wheaton and some of her friends from Woodland's former Beehive Quilt Shop, this summer, quilting will take on an entirely different meaning.

The 3 quilts pictured here will be given away as raffle prizes at this year's Yolo County Fair.  Tickets will be on sale from now until Sunday August 23rd, priced at $1.00 per ticket, and 6 tickets for $5.00.  
All monies generated from the ticket sales will be donated to the Food Bank of Yolo County!

When asked what inspires her to take on the enormous task of quilting, Mrs. Wheaton simply replied that she "enjoys getting the creative juices flowing."  Quilts such as this would typically retail for upwards of $300.00, so a chance to take one home for just a dollar is an unbelievable opportunity. 

The raffle for the quilts will be held on the last day of the Yolo County Fair--August 23rd. Winners do not have to be present to win. For more information and to purchase a raffle ticket, please contact Janet Wheaton at (530) 662-7063.

If you have an idea for a creative fundraiser to help the needy in Yolo County, please contact the Food Bank at (530) 668-0690.  Thank you, Mrs. Wheaton, for supporting the Food Bank of Yolo County! See you all at the Fair!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hunger Is Humanity's Everday Catastrophe

Did you miss our monthly "Focus On Health" feature column in Sunday's Davis Enterprise?  If so, check out the reprint, here!

Original Print Date: Sunday, July 25, 2010
Special to the Davis Enterprise

Hunger Is Humanity's Everyday Catastrophe
By William F. French

Disaster.  The dictionary defines it as a "calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage or hardship."  Thanks, in part, to global media coverage, we've become all too familiar with the sight of devastation caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and so on.

While it's true that natural calamities often paint a vivid and dramatic portrait, there is another sort of disaster that warrants mentioning - one that is faced by thousands in Yolo County on a daily basis: hunger.  One need only ask a working family facing foreclosure, a furloughed government employee, or one of the thousands of unemployed job seekers, and they'll resoundingly affirm that our current economic climate is nothing short of disastrous.  And with no end to this man-made debacle in the foreseeable future, to where may our neighbors turn in their time of desperation?

For 40 years, the Food Bank has worked to fulfill its mission "to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County."  We successfully distributed over 2.3 million pounds of food to the hungry in this county in 2009, and all estimates indicate that we will eclipse that number by far this year.  And, as is the case with any disaster relief effort, it will take a collaborative approach if we are able to be successful in meeting the current demand.

Yolo County is fortunate in that it has been decades since a catastrophic disaster has impacted our region.  Yet, it one's time of need, any measure of loss can prove overwhelming, as was evidenced by the recent fire that destroyed part of West Sacramento's Broderick Christian Center.  As one of our valued member agencies, the Food Bank was quick to respond to the Broderick Christian Center crisis; and through a collaborative effort with California Foodlink, we facilitated the donation of more than 10,000 pounds of food which has already been distributed to hundreds of West Sacramento's neediest residents.

It has been said that, in times of disaster, we witness either the best or the very worst of what a community has to offer.  Here, at the Food Bank, with fingers crossed, we're hoping for the very best.  In the wake of the common trauma we're now experiencing, is it fair of us to expect our neighbors and friends to unite in the common causes of feeding and supporting one another?  We think so.  The Food Bank's very existence is a testament to the spirits of community and unparalleled philanthropy that persist in Yolo County; and, during these extremely difficult days, it will take a renewed commitment to that spirit  to ensure our community's future survival.

For more information about how you can help, call the Food Bank of Yolo County at (530) 668-0690.

William F. French is the Food Resource Development Manager for the Food Bank of Yolo County.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cooking Classes at the Food Bank!

“A Taste For Your Senses” Cooking Class Series

Hosted by Chef Arturo Vargas
at the Food Bank of Yolo County
1244 Fortna Avenue
Woodland, CA  95776

All classes cost $30, materials included

Join us beginning this Monday, July 19 as we unveil a new series of healthy cooking classes at the Food Bank of Yolo County!  Whether you're "culinary-challenged" or just looking for ways to spice up some of your favorite recipes, you'll enjoy this fun informative foray into food!  Check out our current class schedule!

Current Class Schedule

*Monday, July 19  -  6:00pm-8:00pm*
Tortilla Class - Nothing comes close to the freshness and flavor of homemade tortillas. You’ll learn how to prepare the masa and make tortillas by hand with the best masa and tools. Tortillas can be used in several dishes and we’ll make a variety of Vegetarian Sopes in class.

*Friday, July 30  -  6:00pm to 8:00pm*
Veggie Thai - Come and learn how to give your healthy vegetables the flair of Thai flavors.

*Monday, August 2  - 10:00am-12:00pm*
Healthy Favorites: Mexican - What’s the difference between Oaxaca, Puebla, and Guerrero? Learn how to prepare authentic and healthy red, black, and green enchiladas.

*Monday, August 9  - 6:00pm-8:00pm*
Sensational Salsas - Are you a salsa fanatic? Here you will find great homemade salsa to fuel your passion for one of the world’s favorite foods. Come and join us for a colorful, zesty, spicy class.

*Friday, August 13  - 10:00am-11:30am*
Healthy Favorites: Chinese - Craving Takeout? Come learn how to prepare your favorite noodle dish at home, using fresh and local veggies.

*Monday, August 16  - 6:00pm-8:00pm*
Tamale Class - Join us to learn how to make a healthy upgrade to a delicious favorite: Oaxaca-style vegetarian, wrapped in banana leaves.

*Friday, August 20 - 10:00am-11:30am*
Tostada Fiestas - Come and join us for a Tostada Fiesta class and learn about Mexican herbs to combine with flavors with a fusion of vegetables.

*Friday, August 20  - 6:00pm-8:00pm*
Cooking with Peppers - Hot, Medium, and Mild; cooking with peppers, Mexican-style, from fresh peppers to dried chilies, expose yourself to a world of spicy tastes. We will review several varieties of peppers and chilies, their characteristics, and use to common dishes.

*Monday, August 23 -  10:00-11:30am*
Beyond Ramen - In this class you will learn how to turn inexpensive favorites into a healthy meal.

*Monday, August 30 -  6:00pm-8:00pm*
Stuffed with Taste - As bell peppers, zucchini, and chilies begin to appear at your local market, it is the perfect time to learn some healthy, delicious ways to make those veggies the focus of your meal.

Cash, check and credit card payments accepted.
For more information and to sign up for a class, please call:  (530)-668-0690,
or email

Don't delay!  Space is limited!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Food Bank Salutes Mariko Yamada For Taking Challenge

At a time when stock prices are plunging, unemployment rates are soaring and many Americans are struggling with uncertainty regarding their economic futures, it's encouraging to see elected officials like Assemblymember Mariko Yamada raising awareness about an issue that is affecting a steadily increasing number of Californians.

The Food Stamp Challenge is an opportunity to not only experience, first-hand, the budgeting constraints that millions of Californians face on a regular basis, but it's also an opportunity to take stock of our individual eating and food-spending habits.  For instance, have you ever considered how much money you spend on food daily?  Weekly?  Annually?  How would you respond if  you suddenly found yourself unable to enjoy or afford some of your favorite treats and dishes?

Assemblymember Yamada's reflections of each day's meals and activities give insight into the necessity of  making smart decisions, and, oftentimes, difficult choices in the wake of severely limited resources.  We thank and salute Assemblymember Yamada for, once again, taking the Food Stamp Challenge!

If you haven't already had a chance to review the personal insights and comments regarding Assemblymember Yamada's journey, we encourage you to please take some time to do so on our blog today. You can also learn more about the Food Stamp Challenge by checking out the news articles below:

Ginger Rutland: Could you eat on a food stamp diet?

Solano County Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada experiences a week on 'food stamps'

Assemblywoman issues challenge to live on $20 a week in food