Slow Food OC Outreach

Current Project

Currently, The Slow Food Orange County Outreach Committee works with the Grain Project (, a nonprofit in Santa Ana dedicated to promoting unified, healthy, sustainable communities through farmer's markets, community gardens, and public art. The Grain Project has established the Santa Ana Certified Farmer's Market (SACFM); the first certified farmer's market in Santa Ana, and the Jerome CommUnity Learning Garden (JCLG); the first city sponsored cooperative garden.

Water Community Garden in Jerome Park

On Saturday, September 25th, 2010, over 30 volunteers from Slow Food Orange County and The Grain Project joined forces as part of Slow Food USA's Dig In! national day of service. The group broke ground, built and planted a large raised bed in the Jerome CommUnity Learning Garden and then prepared and shared a meal at the end of the day. Over 250 chapters of Slow Food USA participated in similar projects nationwide.

The Grain Project's staff has brought the love and dignity of growing food to a great number of people in Santa Ana, the most remarkable being the children who were waiting patiently outside the gates of the garden when we arrived. These children are educated in all aspects of gardening and act as ambassadors and interpreters for non-English speaking friends and family during the twice-weekly food distribution held in the garden. Under the watchful eye of teen volunteer Sonora Ortiz, the kids worked diligently all morning carrying supplies, watering the plants, weeding, turning the soil, churning the compost and helping with food preparations. They were thrilled to know that so much of the food they would share at lunch they had grown themselves. Imagine 5-year-olds eating swiss chard!

The Grain Project Gift of Garden

Since our September 2010 kick-off, we have continued to schedule events in the garden, including building a compost structure in December and beginning work on a greenhouse in May 2011. If you are interested in being part of future events with the Grain Project, email and get dirty with us!

Past Project

Past outreach has included working with Hart Community Homes, which runs a foster home for teenage boys and provides employment opportunities through the associated Monkey Business Café.

Slow Food OC helped create a kitchen garden with herbs, vegetables and fruit to be used by the restaurant on a daily basis to create the cafe's signature dishes.

Monkey Business Café gives teenagers and young adults from the foster care system an opportunity to be employed in a business learning environment.  The program is designed for a six (6) month commitment, where each participant learns the skills necessary to be a productive employee in the workforce, as well as a self-sufficient adult.

Participants work one-on-one with a job coach to create a pathway to success that includes work experience, employability skills, and living skills.

Monkey Business Café supports organic coffee suppliers, farmers, and those in transition from pesticide-free to certified organic farming. Organic coffee growing helps to maintain an ethical partnership between consumers, farmers, and the environment.

Monkey Business Cafe is located 301 E. Amerige in Fullerton.

One of our members, Fred Tarnay, designed the irrigation and planting plan.