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We are so pleased to have Anna join us in the Westgarden this year. Along with a big smile, she brings with her a curious mind and rich breadth of agricultural knowledge. Here’s what Anna has to say:

“I’m a recent transplant from the East coast, having spent most of my life in the Carolinas. The gardening community and support it receives attracted me out here, as I explore new ways of working with food production systems in communities. My passion about sustainable food production became clear in the 9th grade when I self-selected the research topic of organic cotton production. It was an exciting, passionate topic that was intertwined with so many people in the world, but was committing serious injustices to the environment and farm workers.

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An opportunity in college to lead a new school garden solidified my passion and helped make clear that agriculture would be more than a hobby. Since then, I’ve sought out many farm learning opportunities ranging in scope of both the diversity of crops and animals and scale of production. The list of things that appeal to me about farming has since grown: self-sufficiency, affordable nutrition, efficient production, story-telling, inclusivity, creative outlets, sun worshiping, and observations of and intimacy with biotic life. I’m excited to participate in this opportunity that will showcase how to weave school curriculum into garden activities, and to learn how to steward community garden spaces alongside of model mentors and peers.

A bonus perk of beautiful Whidbey Island for me is that there are so many sheep and fiber artists, whom I hope to befriend in my free time.”

 

Even though the progression into spring has been slow this year, we can’t help but get the garden season up and going! Our Thursday garden or parties have begun and we’ve got a lot of seedlings in the greenhouse just waiting for the sun.

The new Community Gardening Leadership Training apprentices, some seasoned Westgarden volunteers, and a group of home school students have been helping us amend beds, flip compost, and weed perennial flower beds.

We spent time last Thursday harvesting nettles at the edge of the forest for this year’s batch of nettle tea fertilizer. After we harvested the leaves, we bruised them as shown below, covered them with water and now we’ll let it ferment for a few weeks. Once it’s ready, we’ll give all our baby plants a diluted feeding which will provide them will all sorts of essential macronutrients!

If you want to get involved with any of these fun projects, please come out and join us on Thursday mornings from 9am till noon for our regular work party!

For any questions contact Abigail, the Westgarden Steward: abigail@whidbeyinstitute.org

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Spring has sprung and its time to garden! Come on out to our first Westgarden work party of the season on Thursday, March 17th from 9am to noon. In the morning we’ll be sowing veggies, weeding, and flipping compost, then at noon a simple lunch of salad and soup will be served. All are welcome!

Hope to see some of you there!

Even though the forsythia is just beginning to bloom and it still feels like winter out there, we’ve been busy in the Westgarden. For us gardeners, winter is a great time to prune back perennials, do those long awaited carpentry projects or garden ‘hacks’ as we like to call them, and tame those area of the garden you can’t get a handle on during the lush summer season.

One project in particular that we were abel to tackle this month was rebuilding the worm bins. These simple but incredibly helpful bins hold our worm castings that we use throughout the season for making our potting soil and transplanting starts. Camille Green, the Garden Manger over at the Food Bank and all around handy woman helped with these beauties!

It’s always special to have fresh food from the garden but in these low light winter months we’re all the more grateful for the fresh produce. Below are some Asian Greens we planted in the greenhouse last October that are still going strong.

Even though we’re basking in this slower time where the garden is calm and the to-do lists are relatively small, we still can’t wait for the growing season to pick up! Below is an image of starts we have going in the greenhouse. So far we’ve seeded kale, spinach, lettuce, and some perennial flowers to plant out in early March.

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Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who have helped out so far this season!

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Hi Everyone!

I hope you all are cozy and enjoying this wet winter so far. If you’re needing to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air, come on down to the Westgarden at the Whidbey Institute on Monday the 25th from 9am-1pm for a mid-winter work party! We’ll be flipping cover crop and waking up the garden from its winter slumber. A simple lunch will be served at noon. Please come for as long as a little as you like and tell a friend!

Monday 25th, 9am-1pm
Hope to see you there!

For more info contact me, Abigail Lazarowski, at abigail@whidbeyinstitute.org

Are you interested in local agriculture and community gardens? Curious about building equitable and community-based food systems?

Check out the Community Gardening Leadership Training program, applications are now open for the 2016 growing season!

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This dynamic apprenticeship program gives motivated individuals the skills and experience needed to lead community farms and gardens. The training nourishes a vital local food system by providing fresh produce, volunteer opportunities, and education to the community through our food bank, school district, and non-profit growing programs. One apprentice will move into a leadership role in the Whidbey Institute Westgarden, another apprentice will be centered at the Good Cheer Food Bank Garden, and two more will focus on the South Whidbey School District Farm and Garden Program.

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Click here to learn more!

Please contact us at: cultivatingcommunitywhidbey@gmail.com with any questions!

 

The Community Gardening Leadership Training (CGLT) is a partner program of the Westgarden and is responsible for bringing us a wonderful garden apprentice each year. CGLT is launching their 2016 fundraiser in order to buy educational materials, and pay apprentice stipends next year. We support them becasue the health of their program is directly linked to the wellbeing of our garden and many other community gardens on the South Whidbey!

Click here to support the Community Gardening Leadership Training!

CGLT-Fundraising

Thank you!

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