The School Farms Program is recruiting an Americorps School Farm and Food Educator!

The South Whidbey School District is expanding its K-12 farm program! The coming 2019-2020 school year is going to be a full and rich year of school farm and culinary curriculum, and growing food for the students and community.

The district is partnering with Readiness to Learn to recruit an Americorps service member to be a vital part of the School Farms team of teachers, farmers and food educators that deliver K-6 farm classes daily, HS Agriculture classes daily, MS garden elective daily, grade 3-6 culinary classes weekly, and that grows produce on our 1.25 acres of school farms for on-site eating, school lunches, healthy snacks and school events. We have a big program and it takes a good team to make it happen. We are seeking an enthusiastic, energetic and capable individual who has experience growing food, and loves cooking, kids, and teaching.

We are delighted to have just become a part of the Common Threads Americorps team, so this is hot off the press and time is of the essence. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis until the right candidate comes along. The position begins August 20, 2019 and ends July 31, 2020. The stipend for this service position is $15,000 total for the 11.5 months of service.

We ask that applicants read through our website as it gives an excellent picture of what we do. In the coming school year our class offerings are increasing significantly. If you want to be part of our team, send your resume and a cover letter to Cary Peterson, School Farms Manager, schoolgardenswhidbey@gmail.com. We will respond promptly. Please contact us at 360-593-2725 if you have not received confirmation of your application. 

The South Whidbey School Farms also partners with the Good Cheer Food Bank and Good Cheer Garden, and Whidbey Island Nourishes. As well as serving the school community, the South Whidbey School Farms Americorps educator will become part of a community of young farmers and apprentices who are passionate about growing food, and food justice, here on South Whidbey.

Contact us promptly if you are inspired to join our team!

Posted in Americorps

Teamwork at the Farm

The fresh greens at our farm are abundant this time of year. Students spent the final days of farm and culinary lessons making salads that were more delicious than ever! Picking the greens, and creating a big bowl of salad to share with friends hit the spot for culinary students. A team of three creating some healthy ranch dressing to share with their classmates!

All students were able to create just the right mix of greens, flowers, crunchy carrots and peas topped with scratch made healthy ranch, vinegrette, and honey mustard dressing. Second helpings were the norm, and happy conversation could be heard as students sat down together at the end of class to enjoy their creations.

Students marked their final visit to the farm this year by doing out of the ordinary activities. Playing the game of ‘Photographer and Camera’ was a fun way to remember favorite places at the farm by working with a partner to play each role. It was also a good lesson in sharpening our observation and communication skills. The camera kept eyes closed until the photographer gave them the signal to open their eyes and take a picture! Each pair took photos and we all joined together to discuss which photos were our favorites.

The School Farm team expanded the growing space recently and that meant moving our fence to encompass another 2100 square feet in the north corner of the farm. Planting pollinators along our new fence line was accomplished by the 5th and 6th grade students. Everyone understands that the bright sunflowers and zinnias attract the pollinators that keep the farm growing and healthy. These same students had selected the seeds for the flowers and planted them into 2 inch pots to give them a head start. The healthy starts were set out with care by the students and promise to make a showy splash of color for all to see this summer and autumn.

Some of the 5th and 6th graders took a little time to contemplate and remember what they’ve learned about farming.  The question was posed: What would you grow in a 3×20 foot bed that has not been previously cultivated?  We checked a bed for size, and noticed the difference between a cultivated bed and the pathway. Students set to work mapping out and then specifying the steps to a healthy harvest.  It was interesting to see their responses. Many of the students have been helping with the work of the farm and eating the resulting harvest since kindergarten!

There is great enthusiasm for the practical tasks of every day farming. Of course the beds were weeded with greater interest as the kindergarten students tried to find the longest root possible. Second graders combined measuring skills with planting the dry beans 3 inches apart. We continue to welcome each and every students to the farm and in turn they put their hands to the tasks before them and their healthy appetites are satisfied by the abundance that they help create and nurture. Another year at the farm and another cycle in the system that feeds our curiosity, knowledge and our tummies!

Posted in Updates from the garden!

School Farm Magic

We’ve been busy at the School Farm this spring. Each and every student who attends farm lessons gets a chance to participate in the work that keeps the farm growing. Planting, tending, harvesting and best of all, eating fresh food keeps us in tune with the cycles of nature. Seeds are sown and grow into plants that taste delicious and that we can eat right out of the garden. The patterns of growth and care are repeated over and over each year and the students take part in the process.  It’s heartening to listen to what they know and to see them caring for the farm.

Third graders recently had a salad feast right out of the garden with fresh spinach, lettuce, kale, bok choy, and arugula that they planted from seed in early spring. There were quite a few second and third helpings of crunchy greens topped with pea shoot pesto dressing.  The fact that they had planted the greens themselves from tiny seeds in the early spring made it even better!

The peas are growing in leaps and bounds now and we’re starting to see the white flowers turning into bright green peas. Thanks to the fourth grade students designing and engineering of pea trellises, the peas are able to climb and grow with support as they produce the peas we all love to eat.

The circular beds that are some of the last beds we plant in the spring have recently been cleaned up and planted by the fifth and sixth grade students.  They’ve done a lot of math in the process by finding the 6 foot radius of the circles and making sure the beds are an even 3 feet for planting.  Getting the corn starts divided and evenly spaced between two circular beds was a feat of cooperation, planning and measurement that the sixth grade students managed beautifully.

Our spring work has pulled the farm into the warm summer growing season. The bean teepees are up and waiting for the scarlet runner beans to wind around the bamboo poles and make a cool green meeting place on a hot summer day. Our weather station has been constructed and is ready for students to log their observations of clouds, temperature, and wind directions. Most of the planting has been done for now and the students are continuing to tend and watch the plants grow and nibble at the fresh green shoots.  The cycles continue in this ordinary and magical way.  That’s the rhythm of the School Farm!

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Summer work parties at the School Farms!

IMG_7551 If your children are missing the fresh veggies from the School Farm come on out and spend a few hours on Tuesday mornings working with us to keep the farm growing.  We like to have the farm ready for the returning students in the fall and in the process we enjoy working together as a community throughout the summer.

Join us at the School Farm
Tuesday mornings from 9:00 am – 12 noon
5476 Maxwelton Rd., Langley

We always share a picnic lunch with fresh salad greens from the farm.
This year we will also be celebrating Taco Tuesdays with home-made masa harina tortillas. Children love to make them and eat them!

Come anytime during the morning.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Watch our scarlet runner bean tipi grow!

IMG_8587

There will also be a weekly work party
at the High School Gardens
Thursday mornings from 9:00 am – 12 noon
5675 Maxwelton Rd, Langley

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Frijole Friday a great success!

Friday, May 17th started out with a downpour of rain and ended with sunny skies as our South Whidbey students served up fresh Masa tortillas and an array of fresh garden toppings to the community of people who attended our Frijole Fundraiser. Students helped prepare our feast by making the guacamole, chopping lettuce, radishes and cilantro, and making the tortillas. Everyone agreed that the food was delicious! Over 100 people attended the event and, thanks to a generous 2 for 1 match from Hand in Hand Partners, we raised over $7500 to help fund the School Farm program!

Much appreciation to all the students, volunteers and local partners Readiness to LearnSlow Foods Whidbey IslandWhidbey Island Nourishes, Goosefoot and the Goose Grocer, who helped make it a successful, scrumptious, and fun event!

If you’re still hankering for more, we’ll be having tacos for lunch after our weekly summer work parties at the School Farm on Tuesday mornings from 10 am to 12 noon.

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Frijole Friday Taco Picnic at the School Farm on May 17th, from 5 – 7 pm

Frijole Friday Fundraiser poster_1604 copyWe give thanks to our partners and sponsors for Frijole Friday!
Readiness to Learn

Hand in Hand Partners
Slow Foods Whidbey Island
Whidbey Island Nourishes
the Learning Lab in Langley
Goosefoot and the Goose Grocer

Image | Posted on by

Earth Day at the School Farm!

The School Farm began a week of Earth Day classes with 5th and 6th graders learning about regenerative agriculture, pollinators and native mason bees, and how to make home-made masa harina tortillas topped with scarlet runner bean frijoles and greens fresh-picked from the farm.

For a full report with more photos, read the article in the South Whidbey Record HERE.

Here are some photos of the taco making and eating!

Posted in Culinary, Earth Day, Events, In the news, Updates from the garden!