Chico Food Project

It’s that time of year, when we tend to be a bit more aware of (and giving toward) those less fortunate than ourselves. But what if we could easily make a difference year round?

That was a question local Chicoan Wendy Smith asked herself one day, when she read a statistic about the number of people in this country who don’t have enough to eat (many of them children).

According to the “Feeding America” website, in 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in “food insecure” households (33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children).

Wendy Smith and Francine Kenkel of CHICO FOOD PROJECT

Very troubling indeed. But what can one person do?

Wendy shared a wonderful program with our Soroptimist of Chico club this week. Called simply “Chico Food Project,” it is an amazingly simple concept.

1. The first step is to sign-up on the white card included in The Chico Food Project brochure. The Food Project volunteers will then give you a blue, reusable grocery bag.

2. Whenever you shop, buy one extra non-perishable food item to put in the bag.

3. On the 2nd Saturday of every other month, a volunteer picks up the bag from your front porch and leaves a replacement bag.

4. The food is delivered to LOCAL food pantries, to be distributed to those in need.

That’s it!  Such an easy way to help others throughout the year, rather than just during the holiday season. And no worries about how much of your donation is going to some nefarious  “fat cat” at the top of some “charitable” organization. All food donations go straight to people truly in need, right here in Chico. And the program is overseen by the awesome North Valley Community Foundation.

For more information about this simple and worthwhile project, please email or call 530-230-7232.  While you’re at it, ask for a BLUE BAG!

Wine Time!

The Secret is out!   There is a very cool new place to nosh and natter after work, and–lucky me–it is JUST UP THE ROAD from our W. M. Campbell Real Estate office!  Wine Time made it to Henri Bourride‘s restaurant review column in today’s Chico News & Review, where it earned a four-star rating. (Based on my several recent visits, I’d give it a FIVE, but hey, I’m pretty easy to please.)

This gem is hard to find but worth the search.  Located in a big, ancient refurbished barn at 26 Lost Dutchman Drive (behind Roots Catering at 3221 Esplanade, across the street from Philadelphia Square), it truly is a tucked-away Shangri-La.  Owners Gay and Bob James (whom I know from my previous life as a Butte Creek Canyonite) have created a little oasis where art meets gastronomical delight; more Napa-like than your typical Chico eatery, in my opinion.

How great to have another venue for patio dining, complete with pond/stream and colorful umbrellas.  The artsy barn interior features Gay’s amazing mosaic and stained glass art, painted concrete flooring, and original hand-hewn beams dating back to the structure’s hog barn days. (During our first visit, I dubbed it “Swine Time,” in honor of its beginnings…don’t think the “pet” name will catch on, though.)

Thus far I have sampled several very nice wines as well as two “small plates”: a mushroom appetizer that was pretty much to die for, and the Greek antipasto plate with a delightful array of olives and cheeses and a generous helping of “ahmonds” with undetermined-but-tasty coating.  Apparently the menu is ever changing, with many ingredients from local sources (which is always a big plus in my book!).


During a recent visit, I noticed work being done to the adjacent building and inquired about it.  Apparently an art gallery of sorts will be housed there, for local artists to display their work.  Looking forward to the opening!

Wine Time is open 3 – 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  “Like” the Wine Time page on Facebook for fun updates.

2012 Home, Garden & Leisure Show!

Rain or shine, the 2012 Home, Garden & Leisure Show is HAPPENING this weekend, March 17 & 18, at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds!  Over 300 exhibitors, and 100% of the proceeds from this show benefit LOCAL causes.  This is THE major fundraiser for Soroptimist International of Chico, so please come out and support the show and your community! (Admission:  $5 adults, kids 12 and under free.  $2 parking)

Cheerful Soroptimist volunteers - "All About Food"

Unique creations for sale!

Whimsical displays in the Horticulture Center

Wonderful antiques for sale

What’s A Chico Soroptimist? from Jeanne Rawlings on Vimeo.


Sneak attack planting in unlikely places!


Ever heard the term “Guerrilla Gardening“?  

--Guerrilla Gardeners--

This morning I experienced one of those “synchronicity” moments. I was admiring the photos of a most talented young man, Mathieu Young (from Chico originally but now of L.A. and the world) and came across a “Guerrilla Gardening” video he shot.

Interestingly, I had a related discussion over the weekend with a CSUC student who came to help with our W. Lindo GRUB Community Garden (we built compost bins).

So just what is it?  According to Wikipedia, “Guerrilla gardening” is gardening on another person’s land without permission.”  It’s not a brand new concept; witness Johnny Appleseed way back in 1800.  The earliest recorded use of the term guerrilla gardening was by Liz Christy and her Green Guerrilla group in 1973 in the Bowery Houston area of New York, who transformed a derelict private lot into a garden.

There are plenty of vacant lots in Chico that could stand a little beautifying (as there are in any town).  I happen to think edible plants and fruit-bearing trees are  as lovely as ornamental, with the added benefit of being, well, edible!


An Entire Median Guerrilla Gardened!





Guerrilla Gardening” in L.A.-Mathieu Young





A short video on Guerrilla Gardening, Directed by  Mathieu Youngon


Patrick Ranch Threshing Bee!

COME ONE COME ALL to the Patrick Ranch Country Faire and Threshing Bee!

This weekend, June 11 and 12 at the historic Patrick Ranch located between Durham and Chico, the faire is from 9 – 4.

Activities include period games for children such as making wheat dolls, hand pumping water, painting fences, creating walnut shell boats, riding pedal tractors having their faces painted, hand washing flour sack towels and hanging them on a clothes line, making butter, grinding corn and acorns with mortars and pestles and much more.

A tram will weave through the Threshing Bee on half hour to offer rides. A food court on the farmhouse’s expansive south lawn offers delicious  entrees, specialty coffees and cold drinks. All this to the accompaniment of live music and good company!

(Note:   FREE trolley provides transportation to and from the Patrick Ranch. The trolleys leave the Chico Municipal Bus Terminal on the corner of W. 2nd St./Salem on the hour with return trips from the Patrick Ranch Museum returning on the half hour.

Draft Horses at the Patrick Ranch

Patrick Ranch

Antique Tractor Parade

Homemade jams and crafts

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