Outdoor learning at the School Farm is featured in the Seattle Times!

From laptop screens to runner beans…
The School Farm is featured in an article in the Seattle Times — “How a Whidbey Island school district is using its beloved farm to bring students back to in-person learning.” — written by Joy Resmovits, Education Reporter.

Click HERE to read! 

Seattle Times photographer Mike Siegel took this photo of students taking down the bean tunnel. You can see more of his photos by clicking on the right hand side arrow when you go to the article.

Much appreciation and gratitude goes to all the donors, volunteers, staff and teachers who have helped create the School Farm over the years, and to the South Whidbey School District for their vision and support of outdoor learning and good eating!

Posted in Children in the garden, Covid-19 school closure, Goosefoot, In the news, Outdoor classroom, Updates from the garden!

Outdoor pole barn classroom is ready for students!

Together we did it!
A huge thank you to all the donors and volunteers
who helped build the outdoor classroom! 

See our video of thanks HERE!

As soon as it passed final inspection, it was just the right place for classes on our rainy days!

To finish it, after the rafters went up and it was all screwed and bolted together, another team of volunteers put up the plywood,

and another team installed the metal roofing!

We are so blessed with generous community members who gave their expertise and time!

Posted in Children in the garden, Covid-19 school closure, Funding support, Outdoor classroom, Updates from the garden!

Five Fun Things at the School Farm this late October

The outdoor classroom, a long trench, mulching, cover crops and families at the farm. This is what is happening at the School Farm this late October!

Posted in Children in the garden, Covid-19 school closure, Outdoor classroom, Updates from the garden!

Putting the farm to bed for the winter!

The recent freezing weather put a definite end to the season! Everything that wasn’t cold hardy died and turned brown. Goodbye mouse melons, cucumbers and beans!

Time to put the farm to bed and give the soil a restorative winter break. SWA and SWAP families, and kindergarteners and SpEd students have been cleaning up beds, and mulching and planting cover crops.

Pre-pandemic, hundreds of children would be going to the bean tipis, picking the “magic beans” and taking them home in their pockets. This COVID-year, we’ll have a particularly good crop of scarlet runner beans. Generally we can only harvest beans higher than the students can reach!


Posted in Children in the garden, Covid-19 school closure, Growing tips, Updates from the garden!

Cooking with the harvest from the farm!

Farmer Kylie’s Zoom cooking classes with the students in their home kitchens are a lot of fun, and the students are learning how to cook some delicious dishes!

We’ve been sending home our fall crops for the students to prepare, in particular the dishes we enjoyed at our harvest feasts in previous years: potatoes for mashed potatoes, and pumpkins to make pumpkin puree for pumpkin pie.

We grow pie pumpkins to eat, but why not carve them before baking? Then you also get to enjoy some fun-looking pumpkins when they’re cooked! And style them with some pea shoots you can grow!

Farmer Kylie also shared some side fun recipes… gnocchi with the mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pancakes with the pumpkin puree. Enjoy the videos and have fun cooking!

Also, Whidbey Island Nourishes has YouTube videos made by AmeriCorps team member Claire Bryan featuring WIN recipes and nutrition information. The school farm delivers a lot of produce to WIN, and we didn’t grow the ingredients for this granola but it is really delicious, and healthy!


Posted in Covid-19 school closure, Culinary

Rafters and collar ties! And trenches!

Great progress is being made on the outdoor classroom — the ridge beam, rafters and collar ties are up!

Thumbs up from students! 

Next is roofing! 

Update… but first we dug the trench for the electrical conduit!


Posted in Covid-19 school closure, Outdoor classroom, Updates from the garden!

Rep. Rick Larsen visits the School Farm!

We were delighted to have Congressman Rick Larsen visit the School Farm this past Wed., Oct. 7th! He toured the kindergarten and school farm outdoor learning spaces at the SW Elementary School, both of which are visible in this photo (kindergarten outdoor classroom left background, school farm outdoor classroom under construction).

Rep. Larsen also talked with parents from the SWAP program working at the farm with their children…

and celebrated our AmeriCorps service members Shelby, Claire and Maddie!

We sent him home with veggies from the farm!

Posted in Americorps, Children in the garden, Covid-19 school closure, In the news, Updates from the garden!

Concrete and beams and ready for rafters!

Progress continues at a great pace at the outdoor pole barn classroom! With the posts in their holes, the concrete pour was next.

Then on went the column caps, and up went the beams.

Next are the rafters!

Skilled or semi-skilled carpentry help is needed! If you can volunteer, email Cary Peterson at cpeterson@sw.wednet.edu!

Posted in Covid-19 school closure, Events, Outdoor classroom, Updates from the garden!, Volunteer

Dyeing with Japanese Indigo

At the school farm we grow Japanese indigo, a dye plant that makes a beautiful blue. Local fabric artist Cheryl Lawrence led a class with SWAP families on how to dye wool and silk with it using a water-based method. Watch the video to see how!

Here’s a slide show that also shows the steps and the beautiful results!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’ll be growing more next year!

Posted in Children in the garden, Covid-19 school closure, Natural dyeing, Updates from the garden!

Outdoor pole barn classroom is going up!

Equipment and lumber arrived on Monday, September 29th to start the construction of the school farm outdoor classroom!

A big thank you to all the donors who contributed to the building project!

Retired general contractor and lead volunteer for the construction, Wayne Sedgwick, had set out the locations of the posts.

Doug Bedell carefully and skillfully dug the enormous 2 ft wide by 6 ft deep footings with skidsteer and auger.

After the holes were dug, the piles of dirt were cleaned up so the posts could be put in.

Thank you Doug and Wayne, and the skidsteer, for digging the footings and preparing the site!

Thank you to the AmeriCorps farm teams from South Whidbey and Coupeville – Maddie Bailey, Shelby Woyciesjes, Madison Spencer and Zvi Bar-Chaim – for helping put the first four posts in!

We’ll keep you posted (no pun intended) on the progress, but wanted to share the groundbreaking and launch of this wonderful new structure that will provide a great outdoor learning space for the students!

Putting in the rest of the posts, setting them perfectly, and pouring the concrete is next. Then the framing. If you have carpentry skills and would like to volunteer, email Cary Peterson at cpeterson@sw.wednet.edu.

Thank you again to all the donors through Readiness to Learn, and on-site volunteers who are helping to make this happen.

Posted in Americorps, Covid-19 school closure, Fundraisers, Outdoor classroom, Updates from the garden!, Volunteer