We, at FLT, have a secret. We know a superhero. Well, actually so do you, loyal reader. We first introduced you to Amber Stott back in March of this year when we covered the nonprofit California Food Literacy Center (CFLC) of which Amber is the founder and “Chief Food Genius.” After having read that story, you get a sense of the organization and begin to see Amber’s superpowers in action.
Since March, Amber’s name has popped up all over Sacramento. She’s published articles in local magazines, been interviewed by local papers, and she’s even been named one of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Heroes—all while logging countless hours on CFLC’s day-to-day tasks and upcoming events. She’s prepping for September's Food Literacy Month and the Eat SMART Campaign and just about to host a fundraiser for CFLC at her home featuring food grown in her own back yard.
Being around Amber is like taking a shot of the best espresso—smooth, warm but at same time electric. Her laugh catches in your chest and forces you to return a giggle. Around her you feel as though the world’s problems can be solved because you see her doing it before your eyes. All of this wow-factor had us wondering how this wondrous woman relaxed. So we asked her to bring us home.
Amber invited us to a garden party in her Turf Wars designed backyard. There was just one caveat; it was a potluck and each dish had to utilize local produce. Thankfully, Sacramento summers yield exquisite fruits and veggies, so the spread was impressive. There was kale salad, pasta with fresh tomatoes, spring rolls, veggie quiche, peach compote with cream and caprese salad. For her part, Amber created her own garden to glass concoction she named The Farm to Forky, a sparkling wine sangria with white and red grapefruit and pluot plucked from her pregnant trees.
Weaving along the backyard’s paths, stepping aside for other guests, ducking pluot and Asian pear branches dropping fruit, one senses the calm the yard offers Amber after her most hectic days. The yard’s serenity was palpable, and it settled around us as we looped behind the guest house, which has become the domain of “the only cat with her own apartment in the world,” according to Amber.
We stumbled into vines and bushes seemingly wild yet tame enough to bear their fruits: eggplant, tomato, watermelon, peppers etc. Back around the bend, guests’ voices punctuated by laughter invited us back. A tiny lizard skittered up a wall. The water fountain mimicked a creek; a combination of native and drought tolerant plants lined the path; orange tree branches reached out in an eternal handshake. Amber’s smile signaled her delight at having her backyard overflowing with friends.
Amidst all of California Food Literacy Center’s success, Amber has very little time to host garden cocktail parties any more. In fact, it seems she has no time to manage anything other than the nonprofit, but she says she builds in time “to pause one time a weekend” for canoeing or maybe even just laundry. At first we wondered how long till she burns out, but then we looked around, saw all the smiles, smelled the fragrance of pollinator-attracting flowers and realized this garden gives as much to Amber as she gives to food literacy.