As winter approaches and harvest wanes, we said a bittersweet goodbye (for now!) to several of our summer and fall programs. ALIVE, a crucial part of Petaluma Bounty’s farm-based education programming, wrapped up this month with our traditional end-of-session potluck. Short for “Active Living in Vibrant Environments,” this program represents a unique collaboration between Petaluma Bounty and formally trained nutritionists. Through this initiative, local families participate in nutrition education, farm-based learning, and receive weekly Bounty Bags, full of fresh fruits and vegetables from Bounty Farm. Offered at no cost to participants, ALIVE was created for low-income families who face barriers in accessing fresh produce and are interested in healthier lifestyle habits.
As an empowerment-based program, we continuously strive for input and collaboration from our participants, and as an experiential program, we focus on learning through exploration; in this case, the farm is our playground! Each week, we spend about half of our time together diving into how and where our food is grown, and the other half discussing what kinds of food nurtures us and keeps us healthy. We share our personal and cultural relationships with food, harvest different crops from the farm, and plant our own seeds in the greenhouse. This season, like the others, pivoted around reconnecting to the land that provides us our food — a parent is ecstatic to see a broccoli plant for the first time, a child is incredulous to learn that the banana he thought he saw growing is actually a summer squash, and Bounty staff learn a thing or two about dishes like huevos ahogados. One participant shared that her favorite aspects of being at the farm included “the experience of seeing how the plants grow, how they are harvested, to be able to see it, feel it, and…to take organic food home.”
ALIVE remains a key cornerstone of the work we do as we strive to cultivate a sense of caring for our environment and our fellow community members. For more information about the ALIVE program, please visit our website.