This year, some exciting change is afoot! The Community Gardening Leadership Training is becoming Grow Whidbey: A collaborative apprenticeship program in community food production and garden-based education. The Whidbey Institute’s Westgarden is moving in a different direction and will no longer be part of the program, but the South Whidbey School District Farm and Garden Program and the Good Cheer Food Bank Garden are joining forces in a more focused collaboration. We are incredibly grateful for the Whidbey Institute having held the program over the years and all the support they’ve given along the way.
It makes sense to us to solidify the partnership between the food bank and school garden programs because: 1) They both focus on bringing freshly grown produce into institutions that do not normally provide healthy food options, and 2) The Big ACRE (Abundant Community Resources for Everyone) has been created which is a new farm located on school district land that now grows produce for both the Good Cheer Food Bank and the South Whidbey School Cafeterias.
Grow Whidbey will still have apprentices and they’ll be working in the Good Cheer Food Bank Garden, the new Big ACRE farm, and in the School Farm and Garden Program. Our new goal is to give motivated individuals the skills and knowledge they need to become growers and teachers in the field of sustainable community agriculture.
We’re quite excited about the new iteration of this strong and established program and we look forward to welcoming a new batch of apprentices next spring! Please explore our website to learn more!