Crystal Jones

Crystal Jones-1

“I run the Seed to Mouth program for The Edible Schoolyard at Hunters Point, an organic teaching garden and kitchen program at Willie Mays Clubhouse at Hunters Point. It’s a partnership between Community Grows, which is an organization that teaches kids about gardening, nutrition, and has cooking classes throughout the city. A lot of them are in the Western Addition and we just got out to Bayview in November. 3 days a week I’m here. We’ll harvest something out of the garden and say, ‘Today we’re gonna talk about vitamin A. This is a carrot. This is where you can get vitamin A from. How would you enjoy this carrot?’ Then we’ll make something with those ingredients. Some days it’s carrots, others it beets or green onions, and then we’ll supplement that with whatever I get from the grocery store. That can be difficult because Bayview is still a food desert.”

Crystal Jones-5

“I have a different age group each time I’m here. Elementary school is today, teens are on Wednesday, middle schoolers on Fridays. Our teens are participating in a keystone program where they have to create a fake business. Right now we’re creating pickled beets and jarring them. In order for it to be a keystone project we have to include every club so the design/art program will create the flyers to advertise the store. The tech program will create the label to put on the jar. The nutrition club will handle making the food. The teens have to figure out a way to market themselves, how to price their products, it’s a cool way to learn real world experience.”

Crystal Jones-4

“Food is very personal and it can be challenging to disrupt what people are comfortable with and get them to try something else, and at the same time it’s easy because everybody wants to eat, everybody’s curious. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years and I’m not expecting everyone to convert to vegetarianism, I’m just trying to create sustainable practices that people can adopt to improve health out here. It’s a well known fact that dietary issues in Bayview are higher than the rest of the city. It’s because food isn’t available and there’s a huge lack of education concerning the connection between what you put in your mouth and how that affects your body.”

Crystal Jones-3

“Generally I’ll spend my weekends doing recipe development and then I’ll try things out on the Josephine platform. Today I’m making eggplant bacon BLTs. I make this with the kids that come in today and then this’ll be an a la cart item I feature on Josephine.”

Crystal Jones-10

“I worked in Bayview for about 6 years but I grew up in Bakersfield, CA. My family is originally from Texas which is where the interest in agriculture comes from.”

“How you’d get interested in nutrition and cooking?”

“I have a twin sister and when we were sophomores in high school she got really sick and I was trying to make her well. We were almost running tests on each other. It’d be like, ‘You eat this, now tell me how you feel’. And so we started keeping food journals. I spent so much time doing that I figured I should do something with it. My mom and my grandmother have diabetes and so I was just kinda the resident nutrition person. Other than growing food, it’s the only thing that stuck. It’s just too innate to being human to ignore. Anyone can grow food and it just makes sense that this is the way I give back to my community. I really believe in the connection between wellness and food supply, and where stuff is coming from. If we can minimize the distance our food is coming from and reduce the amount of hands that it has to go through before it reaches our tables then we’re doing ourselves a real service.”

Crystal Jones-12

“What do you like to do in your free time?”

“I’m a sucker for nature so I’m always looking for trails. I’m a big reader.”

Crystal Jones-7

“What’s your personal favorite dishes?”

“To make or eat?”

“Both.”

“Well to eat I really like Thai food. Curry is my comfort food. I’m huge on sauces. If something is marinated on a good sauce it’s an easy way to enjoy food. I also like that Thai and Ethiopian food comes out communally. We’re all grabbing from the same dishes and serving ourselves. I enjoy my food more in community. To make…it really depends on the season. Every season I make a new veggie burger. I try and have it include whatever I’m growing in the garden at that time and I try not to recirculate ingredients. And in order to be a veggie burger it has to include a protein source, a grain, vegetables, and something to bind it together. I’ve done that for years. I used to keep a pretty tight blog with all that stuff. A lot of stir fry too. Stuff that can be shared in big quantities. I live in a house full of people, and our neighbors have keys to the house so people just show up around meal time.”

Crystal Jones-6

“What’s your dream for your life?”

“I would really love to have an education farm. That would look like a piece of property where cabins are built and we could spend weekends inviting different organizations out, youth, elderly, whoever wants to come, and maybe they’d be themed retreats. One weekend we’d focus on herbs and we’d host a group that ’s there to learn about herbs, harvest herbs, and learn about herbs role in food preparation. That’s one of my dreams.”

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Dijon

May 29, 2016