Education in the Field

Winter Edition 2015

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Karen Selvar of Bainbridge Island Farms (far left) and Bainbridge Performing Arts Operations Manager Shannon Dowling (with newspaper) join EduCulture on a "Snow Falling on Cedars" cast tour of Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms.

In this Winter Edition, we feature stories and reflections during this late winter season, and news about upcoming programs.  We hope you enjoy this issue!

Notes from the Field
Winter 2015


Hello Friends of EduCulture,

Winter is seen as a restorative season in the natural and cultivated world. At EduCulture, it seems like there has been little time for restoration. Educational opportunities have been brewing for us this season.
This has been a winter for heritage education. As many of you know, Bainbridge Island is an educational treasure trove for its history as a food community and for its unique role in the Japanese American exclusion during WWII. EduCulture has been at the vanguard of leveraging community as curriculum and working with a myriad of partners to position our Island as living interpretative center for local and regional students and teachers – both for edible and heritage education.
There is tremendous excitement surrounding the March performances of Snow Falling on Cedars at Bainbridge Performing Arts. EduCulture’s Only What We Can Carry project has been providing educational outreach support for this Island production and a series of related programs taking place in February and March. You can read more in this edition of our e-newsletter.

In this edition, we highlight our recent edible education work with Bainbridge Island School District.  After seven years of producing programming for the elementary level, this school year, EduCulture is proud to be assisting the district in expanding its edible education initiative to the secondary level, from farm and garden to classroom and lunchroom to composter and community.   
Also in the works, EduCulture is collaborating with our partners at Antioch University Seattle to launch a series of ground-breaking courses on edible education for educators starting Summer 2015.  We will be announcing more in our Spring Newsletter.
Last week, I made a trip to Elliott Bay Books in Seattle to hear Gary Paul Nabhan read from his latest book, Cumin, Camels and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey (U. Cal Press).  Author, researcher of place-based foods, and one of the architects of the Ark of Taste, Gary Nabhan has been a voice of inspiration for the work of EduCulture. Our work with conserving the Marshall Strawberry was featured in his book, Renewing America’s Food Traditions.  

“Know where your food has come from by the very way it tastes: its freshness telling you how far it may have traveled,
the hint of mint in the cheese suggesting what the goat has eaten, the terroir of the wine reminding you of the lime in the stone you stand upon,
so that you can stand up for the land that has offered it to you.”
from a “A Terroir-ist's Manifesto for Eating in Place”

Nabhan’s words of edible wisdom remind us that practicing terroir-ism can be a powerful antidote in this age of terror-ism.  

We hope this Winter Edition of our e-newsletter gives you a taste of what we have been cultivating. Spring is almost here. Let’s see what we can seed together in 2015!
Warmest Regards,
Jon Garfunkel and the EduCulture Staff

Edible Education

Winter 2015

Announcing the BISD Edible Education Initiative

Since 2007, EduCulture has been partnering with Bainbridge Island School District (BISD) to grow a foundation of edible education programming for students and teachers across the elementary level.  Along the way, we have forged edible education partnerships with local farms, built instructional farm plots and learning centers, supported school garden programs, created the Bite of Bainbridge in the school lunch program, and conducted professional education programs and consultations with educators across the District.  
This ground breaking edible education initiative has received endorsement from District and School Administration, School Board, PTO’s, and Bainbridge Schools Foundation.  Through an incremental process of grassroots organizing, educational architecture, and school-community partnerships, we have rooted this work in farms, gardens, classrooms, lunchrooms, compost piles, and the wider community on Bainbridge Island in service to local schools, students, educators and parents. 

We have found that one of the major keys to the success of these pilot programs has been identifying pathways of integration within the current cultures of the curriculum, classroom and community.  Being able to take the slow road also helps, allowing partnerships and programs to grow organically.
In 2011, the EduCulture Project was honored by Bainbridge Island School District with a Community Recognition Award for our service to local schools.  EduCulture was also presented an award by the Washington Association of School Administrators for “outstanding leadership and contributions to the improvement of public education.”
In Fall 2014, BISD partnered with EduCulture to launch a district-wide edible education initiative to help bring blossoming educational programming at the elementary level to the secondary level of the district. This work is being funded by the Bainbridge Schools Foundation through a generous contribution from Hitchcock Restaurant.
Serving in the capacity of an Edible Education Liaison, EduCulture’s Jon Garfunkel has been conducting district and school audits, meeting with District administration and staff, compiling a district wide needs assessment and wish list, and surveying community assets that can be leveraged to support edible education at BISD.

The industrial composter at Bainbridge High School recycles food waste from school lunches and produces compost for school gardens across the district.

In September, BISD drafted a purpose statement to help ground a rationale and mission for this Edible Education Initiative.  Developed in a way that unites all schools around a common vision for edible education, these goals will manifest across classroom, garden, lunchroom and community. Grounded in the District’s Wellness Policy, the objectives of this unified edible education initiative are aimed at:
  • Enhancing, expanding, and advancing the role of edible education throughout the district, with a methodology that is aligned with BISD policies and existing core learning goals and objectives, and helps improve the culture of the classroom, school, and district.
  • Providing enriching, enlivened authentic settings across classrooms, campuses, lunchrooms, and the wider community to help meet best practices in teaching and learning and help strengthen the District’s wellness policies.
  • Creating learning environments for edible education that are made accessible to meet the needs of every child in the District.
  • Building broader and more durable support networks to grow and maintain edible education within BISD for years to come
Here are of the projects we are working on with BISD:
  • Developing a more durable food recycling system across the district
  • Developing a system to recycle compost back to school gardens across the district
  • Coordinating School Gardens and Instructional Farm Programs across the district
  • Developing Culinary Arts Education programs at the elementary level
  • Working with Food & Nutrition Services and cultivating new sources of locally grown produce for Bite of Bainbridge Program
  • Closing Loop on School & District Food Cycle
  • Fostering School-Community Engagement Projects and Collaborations
  • Curriculum Enrichment, Integration and Support
  • Securing additional funding support to sustain edible education at BISD
EduCulture is honored to be working with Bainbridge Island School District to build a strong support network at the school, district and community level for edible education programming.

Bainbridge High School Global Citizenship Course Enrichment Project, in development with Town & Country Markets, Middlefield Farm, and Butler Green Farms (Brian MacWhorter shown here), to include guest speaker visits and field classes.

We have been working carefully to cultivate a district wide culture of edible education while nurturing and respecting the culture and discretion of each school community, grounding this work in a solid rationale and working with what is on people’s educational plate. For us at EduCulture, it’s about enhancing and enriching school and community wellness by connecting place and taste to how we live, eat and learn.  


Looking Ahead to Spring

Signs of spring are here in the Pacific Northwest. Here at EduCulture we are busy preparing for our spring season edible education activities, including our farm-school partnership programs with Wilkes, Ordway, and Blakely Elementary schools, Island Coop Preschool, and Suyematsu & Bentryn, Morales and Heyday Farms. We welcome any inquiries from our partner teachers interested in scheduling field classes at school gardens and our partner farms. Visit our website,, to learn more about our programs.


A Time for Seeding our Spring Edible Education Programs

For the past few years, Bay Hay & Feed on Bainbridge Island has been generously donating to EduCulture leftover seed packets to use in our edible education programs. Each winter and spring, we distribute seed packets to our partner schools for use with classroom projects, school gardens programs, and our instructional farm programs. From spring season sugar snap peas to summer cucumbers, to fall season pumpkins, these seeds have become an integral start to our edible education food chain cycle each school year. We are grateful to Bay Hay and Feed for their on-going support of EduCulture programming. Stay tuned for our interview with Bay Hay owner Howard Block in the spring edition of our e-newsletter.


Partnership in Edible Education for Educators with
Antioch University Seattle

Antioch Graduate Students and others participate in an Edible Education class for educators last summer at EduCulture.

Professional Education has always been at the heart of the work of EduCulture. Training and working with K-12 & community-based educators throughout the Pacific Northwest, EduCulture is helping formal and informal educators build their professional repertoire in edible education, nurture educational and agricultural leadership, enhance classroom curricula, and cultivate locally grown programs. Since 2012, EduCulture has been partnering with Antioch University Seattle (AUS) to offer innovative specialization courses in edible education as part of their professional program in environmental and sustainability education, a WA state sanctioned field of study. In Summer 2015, EduCulture and AUS will be presenting a seasonal series of professional education courses for formal and informal educators interested in leading and developing edible education programs for K-12 schools. For those interested in learning more about these upcoming teacher education courses, please contact EduCulture. More information will be forthcoming soon.

Heritage Education

Winter 2015

Only What We Can Carry Guides Educational Outreach for Snow Falling on Cedars at Bainbridge Performing Arts

Cast members get a look at artifacts in a shed at Historic Suyematsu Farm while on a tour with EduCulture through our OWWCC program.

EduCulture's Only What We Can Carry program is partnering with Bainbridge Performing Arts and other community organizations to help facilitate a series of educational outreach opportunities for local schools and wider community surrounding the stage production of Snow Falling on Cedars, the book by Bainbridge Island author David Guterson. Related events include: serving as a resource for cast members and facilitating post-show discussions; moderating Japanese American Exclusion Film Talks at Bainbridge Public Library; helping coordinate the related BPA art gallery exhibit; assisting with coordination of performances for local students and conducting related discussions; and, the "Exclusion Tag Project."

Follow this link for more information on our website about these exciting events happening throughout the month of March, and for a link to an extensive BPA events calendar.

Snow Falling on Cedars cast members and Director Kate Carruthers (third from right) at Bainbridge Island Historical Museum on a tour led by museum Outreach and OWWCC Coordinator Katy Curtis (not shown) and EduCulture's Jon Garfunkel. 

"Working with EduCulture's Only What We Can Carry project team has been absolutely incredible," says BPA Operations Manager Shannon Dowling. "This has been an extremely personal journey for me because my mother is a survivor of the Japanese American exclusion, and from my first interaction at Celluloid Bainbridge, I have learned so many different perspectives on the story than the one I was raised with. Jon's commitment and respect for the subject matter shines through as he imparts knowledge in an approachable and expert way while Katy's compassion and connection ensure a safe and rich learning environment. The Snow Falling on Cedars Educational Outreach project could not have succeeded without them, and I am so grateful to them for the enthusiasm and generosity with which they truly partnered with me on this journey."

"Leaving Our Island" Day at Sakai Intermediate School

Guest Speakers for this year's "Leaving Our Island" Day.

Each March, 6th grade students at Sakai have the experience of hearing firsthand from those whose families experienced the events surrounding WWII and the internment of Japanese American citizens. EduCulture's Jon Garfunkel and our Only What We Can Carry project assist each year with facilitating panel discussions in the classroom and helping promote understanding of this part of Bainbridge Island history.


OWWCC Staff and Lead Advisors Discuss Japanese Exclusion History and its Role in Today's World

We recently talked with several well-respected local citizens who are instrumental in regional human rights and social justice education. We asked each the same question, and here are their responses.

Vern Nakata

Vern Nakata speaks to Sakai students along with panelists Hisa Matsudaira and Karen Bierle at "Leaving our Island" Day, March 2015.

Why is teaching and learning about WWII and Japanese American Exclusion relevant in today's world?

"There's a saying that goes like this:
'Your thoughts affect your emotions.
Your emotions affect your thoughts.'

Prejudice can dramatically affect your thoughts. World War II was many decades ago and many people cannot relate to what it was like. War-time hysteria, propaganda in the media, and rumors can all fuel a situation that can be detrimental to a group of people or to an individual.

Snow Falling on Cedars is a wonderful book that evokes the thoughts-feelings process. It's a great 'who done it,' murder/mystery, fictional story set in a historic time. The book makes you address, 'how would I feel...?' and 'why is that person thinking that?'

That's why it matters. We, as human beings, will always be in a 'set time' where our perceptions of each other or the world can be influenced by our own thoughts and feelings about the situation, or perceptions influenced by the media.

It is important that we be mindful. But, also listen to our emotions. For we are human."

Vern is a lead advisor for our Only What We Can Carry project. He serves as a guest instructor in many of our heritage and edible education programs, and was a member of our 2012 Delegation to Manzanar. Vern is a third generation Bainbridge Islander and works for Town & Country Markets.

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Lilly Kitamoto Kodama

Lilly Kodama (2nd from left) speaks with the cast of Snow Falling On Cedars at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

Why is teaching and learning about WWII and Japanese American Exclusion relevant in today's world?

"The events leading to the exile of Japanese Americans and those of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was based on fear and racial prejudice. This story must continue to be told as events such as the destruction of the Twin Towers has led to subsequent fear of all Muslims as possible terrorists. Young African American males are another group that faces unjust treatment. Fear for our family and community is understandable, but to ignore our nation's Constitution, the keystone of our government, just plays into the hands of those who believe our form of democratic government should be destroyed. We must be ever sensitive and watchful that fear and prejudice do not influence law enforcement or legislation."

Lilly is a lead advisor for our OWWCC project. She serves as a guest instructor in many of our heritage education programs, and has been a member of all four Delegations to Manzanar. Raised on Bainbridge Island, Lilly was seven when her family was sent to the Manzanar concentration camp during WWII. Lilly has dedicated much of her retirement to educating others about the legacy of Japanese American Exclusion.

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Kay Sakai Nakao

Kay (center) works with students from Bill Covert's Wilkes 4th grade class at our Island Heritage Strawberry Program at Historic Suyematsu Farm, 2014.

Why is teaching and learning about WWII and Japanese American Exclusion relevant in today's world?

"The way things are going around the world, everyone should learn this part of history. This should never have happened to any group; the government really acted in haste. At first, the government said that aliens would be taken away. Then it was 'aliens and non citizens.' But they didn't dare say 'American citizen.' There was so much fear, racial prejudice, and negative propaganda. They felt they had to act in haste, and they did. Now, we're talking about it after all this time. We should make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."

Kay is a lead advisor for our OWWCC project and serves as a guest instructor in many of our heritage and edible education programs. She was a member of our 2009 and 2010 Delegations to Manzanar. Born and raised on Bainbridge Island, Kay was 22 when her family was sent to the concentration camp during WWII. Today, at 95, Kay is a fixture at Sakai Intermediate School, her family's namesake, and works tirelessly as guest speaker. She is revered as an Island Treasure.

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Katy Curtis

Katy Curtis and Frank Kitamoto on a OWWCC Delegation to Manzanar (photo courtesy Karen Bierle).

Why is teaching and learning about WWII and Japanese American Exclusion relevant in today's world?

"I do believe that human beings organize around stories and so to have a strong community you want to have a story that supports people. The generation now is too young to remember it. Reliving it is really meaningful and our heritage makes the lessons to learn about social justice so accessible. And we have the privilege of having a story that was actually different than other West Coast communities. So – how to create a community that can resist the hysteria and fear during times like war? It’s a fascinating topic. It’s a lesson about stepping up. There were divisions that coexisted respectfully and civilly. Part of our story is that we had the largest mill in the world, and the shipbuilding that drew people from all over. When the mill closed, the stage was set to bring people together and to resist the hate propaganda.

The Suquamish people understood the abundance of their territory which includes and goes way beyond what is now Bainbridge Island, they had everything they needed and were generous, and so have always been a welcoming community of people. Yes, the island is growing, but because of the first people here, I believe this place is a welcoming place. Even if it gets crowded, each person needs to feel welcome. Those stories that we tell ourselves are important. By knowing them we can continue to be a welcoming community of people who love this place. By telling them we are honoring our sense of place, and building community." 

Katy Curtis is Co-Director of our Only What We Can Carry project, and has co-led our last three Delegations to Manzanar. She is Director of Education for the Bainbridge Island History Museum and chairs the Multicultural Advisory Council for Bainbridge Island School District. Katy is an amazing educator and community organizer, and works diligently to promote peace, tolerance and social justice.

Visit our website for a list of OWWCC Readings and Resources.

Thank you for your ongoing support!


Bainbridge One Call for All - An Island Tradition

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all those who generously contributed to EduCulture through the recent One Call for All 2014/15 Winter campaign, where donors have already contributed over $8,000. One Call for All is a vital source of underwriting for our edible and heritage education programs and a great way to seed our 2015 programs! We are honored to be part of this important Island institution of giving and encourage you to support it year round. You will find EduCulture on the list of deserving agencies, #230.

To contribute to OCFA online, please follow this link; EduCulture is listed under Youth Services and Organizations.

Make a Gift Directly to EduCulture 
We are deeply grateful for the generous donations our supporters make directly to EduCulture. Donate directly by check or Paypal through our website.  Checks can be made payable to Global Source Education, and mailed to EduCulture at Global Source, PO Box 11316, Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110.  
Contribute through our Website Here
Docent Program
Do you have an enthusiasm for teaching and sharing through edible education and heritage education? EduCulture is building a parent docent program to support our farm-school partnership programs.  Contact us for more information.
Be a Volunteer
Volunteer opportunities are ongoing. We have several exciting projects in the works for next season that we need assistance in establishing and building. Contact us for more information.

Thank You!
At EduCulture, our programs thrive on strong relationships between many individuals and groups within our community. We are grateful to so many people who help to make our work at EduCulture possible. Thank you!

Sonoji Sakai and daughter Kay Sakai Nakao on their farm along Madison Avenue on Bainbridge Island, before leaving for the concentration camps, March 1942. In the 1950's, the Bainbridge Island School District purchased part of this land to build Ordway Elementary School and other BISD buildings (photo courtesy Library of Congress).

"Only What We Could Carry was the rule, so we carried Strength, Dignity, and Soul."
- Lawson Fusao Inada

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EduCulture Project at Global Source Education is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving elementary and secondary education in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
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