Education in the Field

Fall Preview 2014

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There is excitement in the air as our fall program season gets underway. We hope to see you on the farm!

In this Fall Preview, we feature news and programs about this season at EduCulture. 

The diversity of pumpkins and squash at the famous Suyematsu Farm Pumpkin Patch.

Notes from the Fields

Hello Friends of EduCulture,

It has been exciting and gratifying to see students and teachers back on our partner farms these past several weeks. Rain or shine, these locally grown children come dressed for the Northwest weather in boots and slickers, and most importantly, bringing their curiosity and enthusiasm! 

Many fourth graders we work with have been coming to the farm since Kindergarten, and these experiences will become an indelible part of their childhood memories. Some may make a life-long connection to the edible and natural worlds such as the one that partner farmer Brian MacWhorter describes from his youth in Pennsylvania (read our interview with Brian in the Featured Partners section).

The dedicated teachers that we work with every day are an inspiration. The spirit they bring as they help us to transform working landscapes into outdoor classrooms is remarkable. They also help to document these visits in a way that captures the essence of the learning and the joy that can come about when a young person puts his or her hands in the soil (see a recent video that a teacher partner from Wilkes Elementary made of his 2nd graders' field class in the Student Programs section). Whether harvesting potatoes, putting  strawberry plants to bed for the winter, or choosing a sugar pumpkin to take home, these plant pathways are authentically connecting students with both where their food comes from and the historic food community of which they are a part.

Looking ahead, you will find details in this edition about our Fall Farm to Table Dinner and Fundraiser on November 9, part of our Northwest Foodshed Series.  The following weekend, our Only What We Can Carry Project is honored to be a part of Celluloid Bainbridge, November 16, sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council. The film festival will by featuring EduCulture Board Member Brenda Berry's documentary about our Delegations to Manzanar.  We are organizing and facilitating a panel discussion to follow this and two other films on the Japanese American experience of exclusion. We hope you will join us in supporting the work of EduCulture at these upcoming events.

As always, we are grateful for your support and thankful for the bounty of this season and the rich partnerships that make our locally grown edible and heritage education programs flourish.
A Happy and Healthy Fall Season from The EduCulture Staff

Student Centered Programs

Wilkes Elementary School 

Wilkes students are following particular plant pathways by grade. First graders study greens, take a walking tour of Suyematsu Farm and harvesting kale; 2nd graders study pumpkins and harvest them at Morales; 3rd graders study potatoes, visiting Laughing Crow Farm, the plot at Morales, and harvesting at their school garden; and 4th graders follow the strawberry path at Suyematsu.

Bill Covert's 4th grade class was the first to visit this fall, with a field class at the Historic Strawberry Patch, where EduCulture is repatriating the famous Marshall strawberry that put Bainbridge Island on the map during its peak production in the 1940's. Joining the class was Kay Sakai Nakao, who grew up helping her family grow strawberries on the island. Kay took students through the steps of putting the plants to bed for the winter. Showing them how to use a traditional sickle such as the ones her family had used, as well as other tools, Kay took the students through the steps the farmers followed this time of year, cutting runners and planting starts, then cutting the old leaves off the plants in preparation for new growth in the spring.

Kay Sakai Nakao works on the strawberry beds with Bill Covert's 4th graders.

"It was a valuable visit for all 25 students as well as parents, and for me as a teacher," says Bill Covert. "The opportunity to work alongside Kay, with her guiding us as we prepared the beds for winter, was very inspiring. Her recounting of stories working in the fields helped bring alive the legacy of strawberries on this island. Her demonstration of the tools and methods of strawberry farming were practices kids can carry on in gardens of their own."

Enjoy a Video of a Class Visit!

Second Grade Wilkes teacher Ian Eisenhood recently visited Suyematsu Farm with his class for a pumpkin and squash lesson, scavenger hunt, and traditional walk through the hay maze. He has perfectly captured their outing in a short video posted on the Wilkes website.

Follow this link to Ian's homepage and enjoy the video entitled Sugar Pumpkin Harvest.

Click here to see more about the Wilkes edible education partnership.

Ordway Elementary School

Kimber Trefero and her first graders brave the rain at Morales Farm.

Ordway first grade classes take a quick bus ride in the fall for field classes at Suyematsu and Morales Farms. They take a harvest tour of the master farms and harvest potatoes, pumpkins and kale, taking a sampling back to class with them. This year's lesson included a visit to the Morales greenhouse to discuss the life cycle of a pumpkin. EduCulture is also working with Ordway staff and volunteers on expanding their school garden.

EduCulture instructors Spring Courtright and Leslee Pate enjoy a lesson in the greenhouse with Ordway 1st graders.

Read more here about the Ordway Program.


Blakely Elementary School


A pumpkin anatomy lesson includes choosing a seed to take home and plant.

While Blakely kindergartners have been visiting the Suyematsu Farm pumpkin patch, plans are also underway at Heyday Farm to welcome back K-4 students for the ongoing programs there. Located on McDonald Avenue, Heyday is close enough for Blakely students and their teachers to walk to the farm, making their way through a portion of the IslandWood property. The EduCulture field classes for Blakely students revolve around a Pasture Dance curriculum, which educates students about the process and approach to farming practiced there. Working with the principle of "Eat Well Grown Food from Healthy Soil" from Food Rules edited by Michael Pollan, the lessons focus on the anatomy of a working farm, animal life cycle, soil composition, farm and community life, food chain, and food system. EduCulture works with school staff by grade levels to identify themes and curricular pathways.

Read more about the Blakely School partnership here.

Spring 2014, Blakely students learn about soil composition at Heyday Farm.

Island Coop Preschool

How much can a class of preschoolers experience in a visit to the farm? A peek in at an ICP farm visit reveals the amazing scope of all that these students are encouraged to explore, as they are led by teacher Ellen Carleson and EduCulture instructors through the pumpkin patch, the magic bean tunnel, and the sunflower circle at Morales Farm. Then, into the teaching greenhouse to explore different types of squash, beans and dried flowers, seeds and farm tools, and a taste of fresh roasted pumpkin.

Read a firsthand account of their explorations written by instructor Spring Courtright.

Suyematsu Farm Pumpkin Patch


EduCulture Instructor Val Randall and parent volunteers help students find that special sugar pumpkin to take home.

Each fall, hundreds of preschoolers and kindergartners from Bainbridge Island and throughout Kitsap County visit the famous Pumpkin Patch at Suyematsu Farm, operated by Karen Selvar of Bainbridge Island Farms. Lessons include the life cycle of a pumpkin and a scavenger hunt that challenges students to learn how to identify a wide variety of squash and pumpkin types, from the green-striped Delicata Squash, to the fancifully named Jack Be Little and Baby Boo.

Read more about our Suyematsu Farm Pumpkin Patch program here.

Featured Partners

An Interview with
Brian MacWhorter of Butler Green Farms


Brian MacWhorter in front of the edible tunnel he and his staff built for our learning center at Morales Farm. With him are (left to right): EduCulture instructor Spring Courtright, Ellen Carleson of Island Coop Preschool, and EduCulture Instructor Leslee Pate, also of The Food Shed.

You are fortunate if you get to know farmers like Brian MacWhorter of Butler Green Farms. He carries many of the iconic characteristics of a self-made, independent farmer, who has experienced decades of the challenges and successes that accompany small scale sustainable agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. EduCulture is fortunate to have Brian & Butler Green Farms as a farm partner in delivering our edible education programs on Bainbridge Island. Jon Garfunkel recently sat down with Brian as he reflected upon 40 years of organic farming, the origins of his interest, and his role as an educator.

JG: How long have you been farming, and where?

BM: I was born in 1951 and grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, so I was basically farming from the time I was 4 or 5 years old when I went out there and weeded the garden. I’ve been farming professionally for the last 40 years, starting in Eugene, Oregon. This is my 30th year farming on Bainbridge Island.

JG: Why did you become a farmer and what is it that keeps your farming?

BM: That’s one of those things you reexamine all the time, it’s out of the ordinary, why you would go against everything that makes sense financially. I’m a free spirit, so I follow my passion – from an early age, I just really enjoyed being out with plants, and I remember working in greenhouses when I was 8, 9 years old – it always fascinated me. I had a draw toward marine biology and almost did that, but I decided to work with plants. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in farming – I started small and my overhead was small in Eugene – and I just enjoyed it more and more. Forty years later, I’ve made some connections, I’ve been able to afford to raise a family and follow my passion. 

Read the Full Interview here.


Professional Education


OWWCC - Launching the "Teaching What We Can Carry" Pilot Program for Educators

First Class Saturday, November 8; 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Seattle teachers and students on a heritage education field class that included a tour of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

The Teaching What We Can Carry Field Program is an in-depth, experiential professional and curriculum development program designed for elementary and secondary school educators responsible for teaching and learning about WWII and the Japanese American Exclusion, or those interested in integrating this subject of study into their curriculum. EduCulture’s Only What We Can Carry Project is seeking a small cadre of Puget Sound educators to pilot this ground breaking program which we are launching in late fall.

Click here to learn more.

EduCulture and Community


Bite of Bainbridge

The Bite of Bainbridge Program at Bainbridge Island School District got its start in school lunch this year with fresh corn from Bainbridge Island Farms served in September. Suyematsu Farm raspberries are being served throughout the school year in a parfait with yogurt and granola. The corn was grown by Karen Selvar, BHS Class of 1982. She has taken over farm operations for legendary farmer Akio Suyematsu (BHS Class of 1942), who passed away in 2012.

EduCulture's Summer Farm to Table Dinner on Bainbridge Vineyards.

Make your Reservations Now for EduCulture's 
Fall Harvest Farm to Table Dinner

Sunday, November 9, 2014
4-7pm; hosted at Mossback in Kingston, WA

Join us for a Fall Farm to Table Dinner, the seasonal feast of our Northwest Foodshed Series. Taste your way through four courses made up of the late fall harvest and celebrate in the spirit of convivial gratitude for the bounty of our Northwest Foodshed. Enjoy a slow and authentic farm to table dining experience, built on what is seasonal and regional, all sourced locally, fairly and sustainably on EduCulture partner farms and through Mossback's food producers.

Click here to see the menu and details.


Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival

"Only What They Could Carry" Documentary to be Screened
Sunday, November 16

Congratulations to Brenda Berry - photographer, filmmaker, and EduCulture Board Member, on the selection of her documentary about a 2012 Delegation to Manzanar in the 2014 Celluloid Bainbridge Film Festival. The film will be featured in a special series of documentaries about Japanese American Exclusion, Bainbridge Island, and the Manzanar concentration camp. Our OWWCC Project, with Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC) will lead a post-film discussion featuring former delegates, along with providing other educational resources.

Click here to learn more about the documentary and the Festival.


Thanksgiving for Our Farmers

Sunday, December 7
Save the Date! More details to come.

Fall Season of Giving 

Opportunities to Get Involved and Support the Work of EduCulture

Thank You to Sunshine Yogurt & Smoothies
Our deepest gratitude to Sunshine Yogurt owner Signe Sterner for featuring the work of EduCulture this past summer, and for her recent generous donation of 10% of proceeds from sales during July and August, as well as from the "no tip" tip jar. Thank You!

Read more about the Sunshine Yogurt campaign here.

Sunshine employee Hannah Myrick serves up some after-school treats.

It's Red Envelope Season!
Have you received your red envelope in the mail? Hundreds of volunteers came together at the Filipino American Hall in September to stuff envelopes and make sure that Bainbridge Island residents received this important piece of mail. One Call for All is a vital source of underwriting for our edible and heritage education programs (read about our One Call partnership in 2014). We are honored to be part of this important Island institution of giving and encourage you to support it. It is a great way to help EduCulture seed our 2015 programs! 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.

Embrace this Season of Giving with a Gift of Support to Underwrite Edible and Heritage Education Programs for
K-12 Students

We are deeply grateful for the generous donations our supporters make directly through EduCulture. Please consider placing EduCulture on your list of worthy organizations to support during this season of giving.
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, P.O. Box 11316, Bainbridge Island, WA, 98110.
Contribute through our website here.

Blakely 2nd graders at Suyematsu Farm.
Docent Program
Do you have an enthusiasm for teaching and sharing through edible education and heritage education? EduCulture is building a parent and community docent program to support our farm-school partnership programs.  Contact us for more information.
Be a Volunteer
Volunteer opportunities are ongoing. We have several unique projects in the works for next season that we need assistance in establishing and building. Contact us for more information.

Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.
- Gary Snyder, Turtle Island

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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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