Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

2014 Apprentices

2014 Apprentices

The Learning from the Land program of the Whidbey Institute, the Good Cheer Food Bank, and the School Farm and Garden program of the South Whidbey School District are partnering to offer this training in community gardening and leadership skills. Interns will be selected for a particular garden, and will also assist other interns in their gardens so as to gain a broad range of skills and learning experiences.

The Community Gardening Leadership Training is seeking motivated individuals who wish to gain skills for future leadership positions in the field of sustainable community gardening. The training will combine hands­on, practical growing skills in small­scale food production with the leadership skills needed to initiate and manage community gardening projects, to coordinate volunteers, and to implement education and outreach programs.

In this program, community gardening primarily refers to food bank gardens, school gardens and other non­profit gardens that rely on volunteers, community outreach and community support to grow food.

Program begins in March and continues through October. Shorter terms may be possible, but preference is given to those who can commit to the full season. As of now we can offer apprentices a $300/month and depending on fundraising this amount may increase. Stay tuned!

Applications will be accepted now through January 15th, 2015.

For more information e-mail us at: cultivatingcommunitywhidbey@gmail.com and visit our website: http://cultivatingcommunitywhidbey.wordpress.com/



Program MAP


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abigail welcome photo_3913A big welcome to Abigail Lazarowski, the 2014 Community Gardening Leadership Training apprentice in the Westgarden!

I have been working the soil ever since I was little when I used to help my Dad in our family’s vegetable garden. We planted seeds together, harvested basil and waited all summer for the Vermont sun to ripen our tomatoes. I’ve been a cultivator of the soil and a lover of good food ever since. Throughout college I spent a lot of my time working with youth and leading community arts projects but within the past few years I’ve felt drawn back to the land and have begun working on small organic vegetable farms in the Northeast. This season I was looking to deepen my experience with sustainable agriculture and learn more about how the growing and sharing of food can really serve a community.  This exploration drew me all the way out here to Pacific Northwest and I feel so grateful to have landed in such a beautiful place.”

~~~ Abigail

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The Bean Dance

We’ve been growing a beautiful crop this summer. Any guesses on what plant this is?


If you guessed some kind of legume, you’re right! This is a chickpea plant, a middle-eastern variety which produces black peas.


Phases of maturity of the chickpea: from soft and green to dry and black

Once the plants are completely dry, you can pop open the pods and collect the dry beans. For processing copious amounts of dry beans, most farms use a threshing machine. For small amounts, you can do it by hand… or by feet! This week with the Waldorf 3rd grade, we threshed the chickpeas with a little bit of dancing.

Check out our process in this video!

The chickpeas are hard enough that even a good stomping won’t break them. After we had jumped on the plants, we took away the plant matter to reveal a tarp full of little black chickpeas! What a quick and fun way to harvest!

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Love that compost! That is what students from the Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) School from Edmonds Community College learn every quarter during their service learning visit to the Good Cheer Food Bank and Garden, and their service project at the Whidbey Institute Westgarden.

LEAF 19jul13 flipping compost beds1_0930  LEAF 19jul13 spraying compost prep1_0938

It all starts with organic matter providing the fertility and tilth to the soil. Students turned over compost in the bins, harvested some for use in the garden, and sprayed biodynamic compost preps to enliven the compost and help it break down more quickly and effectively.

LEAF 19jul13 digging up potatoes_0931  LEAF 19jul13 ready to plant buckwheat1_0945

The potatoes had some strange summer blight, so we cut them back and harvested them. To restore the soil, compost was added and we planted buckwheat as a summer cover crop and late forage for the honey bees.

LEAF 19jul13 potato harvest_0944

Lots of potatoes, despite the early harvest!

 LEAF 19jul13 clearing out under apple tree1_0933Over by the apple tree, we had been loosely following an apple tree guild based on permaculture principles, but the comfrey was getting out of hand for the small space. So we pulled the comfrey and added it to the compost.  When transformed, this compost will enrich our garden soil in the spring. In place of the invasive comfrey, we will be planting other herbs and flowers to attract pollinators.

Last but not least, our favorite chickens! LEAF students constructed the chicken run a year ago, and have been expanding it in subsequent visits. The chickens have made a nice run around the garden, but weeds do come in along the edges.

LEAF 19jul13 cleaning up chicken run1_0941  LEAF 19jul13 chickens in chicken run_0983

We pulled back the chicken wire and really cleaned up the run! With the additional chickens that Alexa raised, we are really in good shape now! Not only do we love their eggs, we love their manure for the compost. It’s all part of the cycle of fertility that grows the garden.

LEAF 19jul13 group photo _0950

A big thank you to students Lia Andrews, Ana Barrera, Zander Danskin, Kyle Dewey, Daryl Douglas, Christopher Ellison, Mark Glinskiy, Joshua Hart, Jan Hutchinson, Cheryl Kennedy, Minda Mina, Sierra Rudnick, Christopher Shipway, Yosief Tesfamariam, Daniel Villarreal, Nick Weaver, Hao Wu, Program Assistant Erin Ryan and Professor Tom Murphy!

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FreshFoodontheTable 2

Providing fresh produce to the Food Bank YEAR ROUND!
Supporting local farmers, and educating youth!

Sunday, April 28th
Banquet Fundraiser and Square Dance
Whidbey Institute, Thomas Berry Hall

5 pm:  Appetizers, with Silent Auction and Veggie Photo ops
6 pm: Banquet from the Good Cheer chefs
6:45 pm: Program and Live Auction with Jim Freeman
Square Dance follows with the Mudhen Callers

The Whidbey Institute is a proud partner in Fresh Food on the Table, a community effort which supports the Good Cheer Food Bank in providing locally grown, fresh produce throughout the year, and offers apprenticeship and school garden programs for youth.

Reserve your tickets now at freshfoodonthetable.brownpapertickets.com
There is no cost to attend the banquet, but please donate generously!

Enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Good Cheer chefs, and participate in a live auction, with Jim Freeman, of a garden variety of fun and useful items. Get the laughing muscles in your cheeks ready! A square dance with live music follows!

ellie with carrots1  chard whitman alexa_4546 3  chard june levi_3418_2
The Whidbey Institute Westgarden grows produce for the Food Bank throughout the season, and hosts a Community Gardening Leadership Apprentice who moves into a leadership role in the garden, and provides garden-based education for school children and community groups.

Join us for this special evening to support this initiative which strengthens community and local food security. Meet the youth and farmers who are growing for the Food Bank, and hear about all the ways Good Cheer is partnering with our community, schools and local non-profits to provide fresh veggies and fruit year-round to the Food Bank.

Fresh Food on the Table is a program of the Good Cheer Food Bank in partnership with the Whidbey Institute & South Whidbey School District, and in collaboration with the South Whidbey Commons, Deep Harvest Farm, Greenbank Farm & Skyroot Farm.


                                                 swsd swcommons

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alexa mulching lettuce april_4770A big welcome to Alexa MacAulay, the 2013 apprentice in the Westgarden!

“I’ve been a self-described farmer for the past 7+ years, working on farms and community gardens throughout North America. From the Okanagan valley in British Columbia to rural North Carolina, I have pruned, transplanted, harvested and weeded a rainbow of fruits and vegetables with a curious hand. I’ve also worked with various urban agriculture not-for-profit organizations in my home in Ontario, and I believe that growing food is a powerful catalyst for social change and community development. I recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and Community Arts at York University in Toronto, Ontario, and am thrilled to become part of the Good Cheer Garden and Whidbey Institute team. When I’m not preserving, cooking, growing, and otherwise exploring food, I love to get crafty. Most recently, I have been working with pottery, embroidery, and plant-based inks and dyes.”
                                                                          ~~~ Alexa

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LEAF in garden 1mar13_0579

It is always a great pleasure when the LEAF Service Learning Program of Edmonds Community College comes to the Westgarden! On March 1st, we started the day with a visit to the Good Cheer Food Bank and Garden to learn about sustainable agriculture and community systems. A delicious lunch made by Chef Chrystyn followed that included kale, collards and potatoes from the Westgarden.

Then LEAF transformed the garden again with another terrific service project getting the garden ready for spring! The focus was sustainability and fertility cycles, and what better way to learn than to…

LEAF 1mar13 harvesting vermicastings_4239  LEAF 1mar13 hauling vermicastings_4263
Harvest worm castings from our concrete in-ground worm bin and transport them to the garden where we’ll use them to amend the soil,
LEAF 1mar13 turning compost2_0602  LEAF 1mar13 turning compost_4243
Turn over the garden compost, and free up a bin for all those vermicastings…
LEAF 1mar13 turning cover crops_4240  LEAF 1mar13 turning cover crops2_0581
And flip over cover crops to increase the organic matter and richness of the soil.
LEAF 1mar13 spraying field prep_4260_  LEAF 1mar13 mulching and spraying_4270
The beds were sprayed with biodynamic Pfeiffer Field and Garden Spray, which inoculated the soil with beneficial soil microorganism to help with decomposing the cover crops. Mulching will reduce weeds, retain moisture and reduce leaching while the cover crops break down.
LEAF 1mar13 starts with soil blocks_4268 LEAF 1mar13 planting peas_4279
Lots of little lettuce and kale sprouts were transplanted into soil blocks, and peas, already sprouted in soil blocks, were planted in the garden.

LEAF 1mar13 after mulching_4286

WOW! A big thank you to: Jacob Assink, Grace Coale, Scott Collins, Alexzander Danskin, Francis Gregory, Sierra Klug, Tammi Koffler Coza, Sam LeBrun, Kyli Rhynalds, Gazella Richard, Paul Ritzman, Christopher Shipway, Dannika Stone, Leif Takacs, Jessica Villines, and Professor Tom Murphy, Americorp volunteer Marshall Kramer and Westgarden volunteer Mully Mullally.
We are ready for spring!

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