Above: Summer 2015 Farm to Table Dinner on Bainbridge Vineyards.
Summer 2015 Review
Dear Friends of EduCulture,
This summer has been a particularly busy one for the EduCulture team. In this Summer Review, we feature highlights from events and activities of the season.
Summer Volunteer Farm Work Parties for School and Community Partners
History Camp with Bainbridge Island Historical Museum
Launch of Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program
Farm to Table Dinner, August 2015
Seattle Opera World Premiere of An American Dream
Interview with Master Farmer Betsey Wittick of Laughing Crow Farm and Bainbridge Vineyards
On behalf of EduCulture, we would like to sincerely thank all those who made our summer programs so successful, including farm program partners, guest presenters, teaching program partners, work party participants, farm to table dinner guests, historical museum staff and volunteers, and many others!
We hope you will enjoy reading about these summer programs!
The EduCulture Staff
Programs for Students
Summer Volunteer Farm Work Parties
Wilkes teachers Carol Baker and Bill Covert pitch in at Morales Farm.
Teachers, students, and community members joined together this summer to help maintain our instructional plots on Morales Farm and Historic Suyematsu Farm. Volunteers came together to weed and hoe rows of pumpkins and potatoes at Morales, and carried out important summer maintenance to prepare the Heritage Strawberry Patch for students' return this fall to Suyematsu.
Kevin Haggerty with Friends of the Farms transplants sunflowers.
EduCulture Assists with Historical Museum Camp
Wayne Nakata talks with camp goers about the Island's history.
Twelve students ages 7-10 took part in a History Camp in late August through Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, under the guidance of museum outreach coordinator and OWWCC co-director Katy Curtis. One segment of the camp brought them to Suyematsu Farm, where the EduCulture team helped lead a historical tour of the Strawberry Heritage Plot. Wayne Nakata, playing the role of farm owner Yasuji Suyematsu, helped the students to imagine life on the farm at the peak of the historic Marshall Strawberry.
EduCulture Director Jon Garfunkel and Lead Instructor Valerie Randall helped to expand the camp participants' understanding of the types of strawberries grown in our region, and led a taste test of the waning season's final fruits.
Programs for Educators and other Professionals
EduCulture Partners with Antioch University Seattle to Launch Leadership in Edible Education Program
Students Attend First Phase, July 2015: Education Toward Food, Citizenship & Community
Master Farmer Brian MacWhorter talks with class attendees.
EduCulture and the Master of Arts in Education Program at Antioch University Seattle partnered in July to hold the first of what will be four courses in the Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program. The year-long program is aimed at building the professional repertoire of those seeking a career in the field of edible education.
Held this summer, the first course, Education Towards Food, Citizenship & Community, explored the anatomy and interrelationships of our regional food community. Using the Central Puget Sound food community as curriculum, each class took place in the field, situated amongst regional production, processing, distribution, consumption, and recycling. Students examined alternatives to the prevailing system of industrial agriculture from farm to market to table and beyond, where emphasis is on the principles of clean, fair, fresh, nutritious, local, accessible, and traditional food.
Guests Enjoy the Summer 2015 Field to Farm Table Dinner
About 40 guests gathered at Bainbridge Vineyards on Sunday, August 2, for our latest Farm to Table Dinner in an ongoing, seasonal series. This summer’s event featured five delectable courses with unique wine pairings, prepared by local chefs Leslee Pate-Dixon and Tad Mitsui.
Chefs Tad Mitsui and Leslee Pate-Dixon.
The chefs arranged for a mobile, market-style, wood-fired brick oven to be situated in the farm fields where much of the produce for the dinner was grown, and near the long, white-linen banquet tables where guests were seated for their main course. Before sitting down to dinner, our guests enjoyed initial courses while strolling from the Winery's tasting room. Dixon and Mitsui thoughtfully designed the summer menu to include a pickled beet and bean salad, wood-fired king salmon with wildflower butter, and semifreddo with raspberries and chocolate. The idyllic pastoral setting, paired with fresh-cut flowers, a setting sun, and the gentle slopes of Suyematsu and Bentryn family farms, provided the perfect backdrop.
Thank you for being a part of seeding & supporting EduCulture's Edible Education Programs in 2015-16.
Seattle Opera Consults with EduCulture for World Premiere of An American Dream
Copyright Dorthea Lange photo. War Relocation Authority 1942-1945.
Katy Curtis, Co-Director of the Only What We Can Carry Project and Outreach Director for Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, and Jon Garfunkel, OWWCC founder and director, worked with representatives of the Seattle Opera over the summer to assist them in preparing for their world premiere production of An American Dream. A dress rehearsal was performed at Bainbridge Performing Arts, followed by the official production at McCaw Hall in Seattle, August 21 and 23.
EduCulture was involved in pre-production research conducted by Seattle Opera staff, directing tours of Suyematsu Farm, providing historic information and important community-based context, as well as helping coordinate local elders to serve on a panel on stage just prior to the production. EduCulture also helped the group curate an extensive pre-performance exhibit to better tell the history and to enhance the experience of the opera.
"EduCulture was an invaluable resource as we prepared our production of An American Dream," says Nick Malinowski, Community Programs Manager for Seattle Opera. "Jon Garfunkel has a wealth of information and historical knowledge, and answered every question we had about the Japanese American Exclusion and farm life in the 1940's."
Lilly Kitamoto Kodama, Felix Narte, Jr. and Kay Sakai Nakao give pre-performance testimonials. Photo copyright Elise Bakketun.
Secretary Norman Mineta with Kay at the reception following the performance of An American Dream. Photo copyright Jonathan Vanderweit.
Laughing Crow Farm and Bainbridge Vineyards
Betsey Wittick talks with Bill Covert's 4th graders from Wilkes Elementary.
Betsey Wittick was EduCulture's first farmer partner. Her history and role in regional farming is one of helping to build the foundation for our local food community, and for future farmers.
In a conversation with EduCulture founder and director Jon Garfunkel, Betsey describes her interest in growing plants, going back to her time as a teenager in New Jersey. She reflects on her current work and her vision of the future of farming, as well as the importance of Edible Education.
JG: How long have you been farming and where have you farmed over your career?
BW: If you talk about growing plants, I’ve been doing that since I was a kid. Farming – if you want to define that as producing a crop to sell commercially, then it’s been, if you include the winery, about 28 years.
JG: And where have you farmed?
BW: All of it on Bainbridge.
JG: Why did you become a farmer and what keeps you farming?
BW: I got involved in farming specifically because of working for Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery, helping grow wine grapes and make wine. And while doing that I got involved in farming, farm-based issues – mainly land resources, land preservation – and helping to get folks to understand the value of local farming. At that time there were very few people farming commercially, besides some in the Filipino community, and Akio (Suyematsu), as well as Brian MacWhorter, and the Bentryn’s at the winery. So I got involved in trying to educate people about ways we could save farmland, through transfer of development rights, through trying to get the folks who were growing crops to be more successful at it, and hopefully to encourage new people to get involved in it. While doing that I also joined groups like Rural Bainbridge Island and Bainbridge Island Grange, and we were hoping to use those forums to educate people and to be a support group for farming. As I did that, I also got involved in Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market – it was called Winslow Farmer’s Market at the time – and several transplants from California and myself helped to reorganize that into the Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market. We realized we didn’t have enough vendors to make it a really great farmer’s market, so a few of us pooled our resources together and we had a cooperative booth under the Bainbridge Island Grange, and that was the beginning of Laughing Crow Farm. From there, it grew a little bit more each year.