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!

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!

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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

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

Time for pesto!

It’s time to harvest the basil before it gets too cold, and make pesto! A great opportunity to send basil home to 5th and 6th graders in Farmer Jay’s class and teach them how to make pesto without a blender.

Maddie and Shelby packed up bags with school farm basil and garlic, plus walnuts, cheese, oil and lemon juice which were all available for pickup outside the main office at the South Campus.

Then the students at home in their kitchens made pesto without a blender with Farmer Kylie leading by zoom. This video will show you how!

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Learning about the cycle of life on the farm

Fall is such a time of seeing how growth passes on to decay and for many plants death. But life continues in the seed. Here is a video about that cycle of life at the farm.

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Great to have students back on the farm!

Small classes have started to return to the Farm from the South Whidbey Academy (SWA), South Whidbey Parent Partnership Program (SWAP), special education and kindergarten programs!

They have helped harvest potatoes, clean up a lettuce bed, remove blighty tomatoes, harvest the Orca and Rockwell dry beans, turn over cover crop and enjoy fresh-picked carrots and tomatoes for garden nibbles!

Harvesting potatoes

Sungold cherry tomatoes are the best!

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

Lots of harvesting and food preservation!

We have been busy harvesting! The students coming to the farm, our culinary classes, the school lunches, and Whidbey Island Nourishes with their snacks and weekend meals — all are enjoying our fresh veggies! See our video HERE.

School farm veggies in the school lunches – kale in smoothies, basil pesto in wraps and lettuce, kale turnips and pea shoots in salads!

Food preservation in the Whidbey Island Nourishes kitchen – blanching freezing beans and kale, dehydrating beets and cucumber pickles, making basil pesto!

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Healthy nutritious food for the students and their families!

Posted in Americorps, Covid-19 school closure, Culinary, Harvest, Healthy snacks, Updates from the garden!, Whidbey Island Nourishes

School has begun and welcome from the new farm team!

The new farm team welcomes the students who will be coming to the farm, as well as all the student farmers at home and their families! We have made a welcome video for you – enjoy!

Posted in Updates from the garden!

Help us build a new outdoor pole barn classroom at the School Farm!

September 14

A big thank you to all the donors who helped meet the $7500 match!
And huge appreciation also to our match donors
Hand in Hand Partners, and the Seattle Seed Company!

Appreciation also to L.A.S. Designs for the plans,
and Davido Consulting Group, Inc for the engineering!

If you haven’t donated yet, but want to help, we are now raising money for the electricity.
We expect to be digging the footings by the end of September!

Thank you all so much!
We’ll keep you posted on the progress!

We hope to break ground soon on the new outdoor classroom at the School Farm! Help us raise the funds needed to build this open-sided pole barn! It will meet the need for safe outdoor learning for the students during this pandemic time, and well beyond, as part of the Elementary School’s commitment to outdoor education. This video by Susie Richards, K-4 Elementary School Principal and Cary Peterson, School Farm Manager describes the project.

We are so grateful to the Seattle Seed Company for a $2500 match, and Hand in Hand Partners for a $5000 match. Thanks to these generous matches we only need to raise $7500 to have enough funds to build the outdoor classroom! 

Help us meet the match! DONATE through our community partner Readiness to Learn, online, or by check, HERE. Thank you so much!

Stay tuned for information on how to volunteer. Email Cary Peterson at with any questions, or if you would like to help!

This from Susie Richards, K-4 Elementary School Principal:
“I could not be more excited about this outdoor learning space as we develop our outdoor/nature-based education at the Elementary School. This space will provide a safe, open learning environment – our very own campus-based outdoor classroom.  I am so grateful to the community volunteers and supporters who are helping us to make it happen!”

Posted in Covid-19 school closure, Funding support, Fundraisers, Outdoor classroom, Readiness to Learn, Updates from the garden!