Lyssa Houser's blog

To Be Known and Seen: Get to Know Team Homegrown!


What daily rituals have you developed that define a normal day? Is it the barista who knows what drink to make you as soon as they see you walk through the door? Or maybe it’s the phone call you know you will receive from your sister at 6:30pm California time as she rides the bus home from work. Or the salute you share with your security guard when you enter your office building each morning. Our days are composed of a variety of intersecting structures and moments that we come to count on to support our needs as social beings with a place and value in our different workplaces/schools/families/communities. At Brainfood, the opening and closing activity that starts and ends every class is the structure that satisfies a basic human need, as researcher Brené Brown describes, the need to “show up and be seen.”

Ugly is Trendy


You have twenty seconds to brainstorm three ideas for how to use your super brown bananas that are starting to attract fruit flies: GO!


   (20 seconds later)


 Here’s my list (I really timed it, and honestly, whether you believe me or not, I did ask myself that question pretty spontaneously. Originally I was going to use a different fruit, but then my brain did a last-minute switch-up, which probably evened up the playing field between us a little).


  1.  banana bread
  2.  banana ice cream
  3.  compost
  4. vermicompost!
  5.  teeth whitening
  6.  shine your shoes


Musings and Marvels from Brainfood's Urban Kitchen Garden

I get to witness the growth of a kale plant from seed to plate approximately 60 times each growing season in the Brainfood Youth Garden. And when you consider the hundreds of plants that I watch grow through a full life cycle each year, it would make sense to assume that germination/flowering/fruiting/death/compost is just the day-to-day work schedule. And it is. 

But dang! Even as an expected part of my everyday work life, I can’t help but marvel at the tiny leaves still clinging to their split seed as they grow towards the sun. Or the three-foot beast of a kale stem that I throw into my compost bin at the end of summer. It kind of looks like its covered in dragon skin, the scales of which are actually scars where the plant healed itself after each leaf I harvested.

Finding Purpose: A Zucchini’s Perspective of Hopes and Aspirations in the Brainfood Kitchen

Typically at Brainfood we work with high school students, work that inevitably provides Brainfood staff with a bounty of hilarious and heartwarming stories to share on our blog. But in the lull between summer and fall programming, it seemed like a good time to share another story of growth and development that has happened on-site. What follows is a unique account of the path from seed-to-table by Zelda the Zucchini, born and raised in the Brainfood Youth Garden.

Photo credits to Aimee McLaughlin for the incredible portrait! Thanks Aimee!)

Hello there, my name is Zelda. I am a zucchini. What does being a zucchini mean to me? That’s a good question. I’ve been a zucchini all my life, so it’s hard for me to think outside my glossy green skin. But I will try.

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