Welcome 2018 apprentices!

We welcome Kathryn Ruesch, Tran Hoang, Annie Pitts and Grayson Hunter to the Grow Whidbey apprenticeship!


We’re hiring! Come apprentice with us in 2018!


Grow Whidbey is a collaboration between the Good Cheer Food Bank Fresh Food on the Table Program, South Whidbey School Farms, and South Whidbey Tilth offering apprenticeships in community food production and farm-based education. Our goal is to train the next generation of growers and teachers in the field of sustainable community agriculture.

After a great 2017, we are are now planning for next year. If you are interested in becoming an apprentice with us in 2018, read more about the program here.

There will be five apprentice positions in 2018. We are seeking:

  • Two Good Cheer Apprentices who will focus on food production and farm cultivation in the food banks’ two gardens and new acre farm, and a
  • Two School Farm Apprentices who will work with teaching staff at the school farm to bring garden-based education to elementary and middle school students.
  • One South Whidbey Tilth apprentice

Please contact each program directly, and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have!

Delicious food and live auction Friday 5/12 at Useless Bay Coffee Company for a GREAT cause!

Grow Whidbey is a collaborative apprenticeship program between Good Cheer and South Whidbey School Farms that trains motivated individuals to grow food for community and teach youth through experiential garden and nutrition classes. Of 20 alums of the apprenticeship program, seven have stayed on South Whidbey to continue work in the field of sustainable agriculture and education.

On Friday, May 12 at Useless Bay Coffee Company please join us for a fun and delicious night filled with generosity to raise the match and fund this essential program! 

  • Fantastic food donated by Useless Bay Coffee Company
  • Live auction featuring items donated by Boatyard Inn, BugaBay Company, local artists, and community members
  • A $10,000 matching grant from Hand in Hand Partners doubles your dollar!

The apprentices are a key part of the Good Cheer and School Farm programs! Your contribution supports educating South Whidbey youth with garden-based education, feeding community members with fresh, local produce, and training the next leaders and teachers in sustainable agriculture.

Tickets are $100 and available at Good Cheer Thrift Stores as well as at growwhidbey.brownpapertickets.com. With a generous $10,000 matching grant from Hand in Hand Partners, your dollar goes twice as far to Grow Whidbey! You can also make a reservation by calling Good Cheer at 360-221-0130 (ask for Anh) or e-mailing anh@goodcheer.org. Thank you and hope to you see you there!

Grow_Whidbey_Fundraiser_Flyer_v3 1may17a

Welcome new apprentices!

A big welcome to Ryan Viscito, Corey Wills and Mike Ferncase, the 2017 Grow Whidbey apprentices!

  • Corey is the Good Cheer Food Bank apprentice, growing produce for the Food Bank at the Good Cheer Garden and the Big ACRE.
  • Ryan is the School Farm Curriculum apprentice teaching the students garden and culinary classes and developing curriculum, and
  • Mike is the School Farm Production apprentice, growing the vegetables the students eat during the garden and culinary classes, at school lunch and at events.

We welcome them to our community!

We are growing! New apprenticeship available

The South Whidbey School Farm and Garden Program is expanding and we have an opening in our apprentice program. Two gardens at the High School are being created! Add them to the School Farm at the Elementary School South Campus and the 6th and 7th grade gardens at the Middle School, and we have a lot of growing, teaching, harvesting and eating with our K – 12 program.

Click HERE for more information about the Grow Whidbey School Garden production apprentice.

Welcome 2015 apprentices!

apprentices april2015_7509 Welcome to the apprentices in the 2015 Community Gardening Leadership Training!

From left to right,

–  Anh Bui (Good Cheer Garden apprentice)

–  Camille Green (Good Cheer Garden Manager)

–  Cary Peterson (School Garden coordinator and CGLT co-coordinator)

–  Halley Shriber (School Garden apprentice)

–  Margaret Pickoff (Westgarden apprentice)

–  Abigail Lazarowski (Westgarden Manager and CGLT Co-coordinator)

Go to the School Farm and Garden, Good Cheer Garden and Westgarden websites to learn more about what the apprentices are growing and learning, and how they are contributing to growing fresh, healthy produce for the South Whidbey community, food bank and schools.

We are seeking one more school garden apprentice for the season! Click HERE for more info.

Community Gardening Leadership Training 2015

swsd-logo_sm copy Whidbey Institute new logo Good Cheer garden logo cropped

The South Whidbey School District, Good Cheer Food Bank, and the Whidbey Institute are partners in the Community Gardening Leadership Training that combines learning practical growing skills in small-scale food production together with developing the leadership skills needed to initiate and manage community gardening programs.

This training is for motivated individuals who wish to gain skills for future leadership positions in the field of sustainable community gardening. In this program, community gardening primarily refers to food bank gardens, school gardens and other non-profit gardens that rely on volunteers, and community outreach and support to grow food.

lunch together at work party2_4798 beans pulling up12_5996
Local non-profits, the School District, community volunteers and supporters, and a growing population of young farmers are collaboratively shaping a community-driven food system that addresses issues of health, education and food access on our rural island. For the past five years, interns have had the opportunity to work within this network and explore their interests in community food systems and food production, as well as to help strengthen it with their energy and ideas. With the skills cultivated in this program, many interns have moved into jobs in education, agriculture, and community gardening.

westgarden with roses_5599 radishes 5th grade1_5605 good cheer slope_shed_0742
We are seeking interns for the

  • South Whidbey School District Farm and Garden program
  • Good Cheer Food Bank Garden
  • Whidbey Institute Westgarden

abigail maggie mulching_3915Interns will be selected to focus on and learn one garden system well, but will also gain a broad set of skills and experiences by working together in the other gardens. It is the goal of the program to help interns develop the skill sets, knowledge and self-confidence so that they confidently move into leadership roles in a selected garden.
The interns will assist the garden coordinators in all aspects of garden production, and develop leadership skills in project management, volunteer coordination, community outreach, curriculum development and teaching. There will be regular classes and readings on practical growing skills and seasonally specific garden activities. Field trips to other community gardens/farms/non-profits will also be an important part of the training.

casey tomatoes peep n kidzInterns start in March and continue through October. Shorter terms may be possible, but preference is given to those who can commit to the full season.

We are the first non-profit farm program to participate in the Washington State Farm Internship Project, which enables us to pay a stipend and offer workmen’s compensation. In our program, interns are “apprentices” in the traditional sense of the word, where apprentices work alongside experienced gardeners and move into leadership roles as the season progresses.

Gardens in the program:

Good Cheer Garden

good cheer garden harvest fest2009_3689The Good Cheer Garden is a .4-acre intensive, volunteer-based, garden growing over 7000 lbs of produce annually for the Good Cheer Food Bank. It is a very public garden in front of the Food Bank growing produce exclusively for food bank clients. The garden is a hub of activity and community action drawing dozens of volunteers and community members each week. Interns will learn how to manage an intensive production garden space, coordinate large work parties and service learning groups. She/he will move into a leadership role managing the Bayview Garden adjacent to the Food Bank, and have the opportunity to develop other projects.

Whidbey Institute Westgarden

westgarden overview1_5282The Westgarden of the Whidbey Institute is a .4-acre garden that provides produce to the Food Bank and Whidbey Institute programs and is the outdoor classroom for Learning from the Land service learning programs. While this garden grows a diversity of vegetables, its scope is much wider. Its forest location, medicinal herbs and dye flowers make this garden a healing space as well. It offers volunteer opportunities for those in programs at the Whidbey Institute, as well as garden-based curriculum for the local Waldorf School.

South Whidbey School District Farm and Gardens

school farm overview1_0975The South Whidbey School District Farm and Gardens grow for the school lunches, and will be providing garden-based curriculum to grades K-12. The gardens also grow produce for the Good Cheer Food Bank and Whidbey Island Nourishes. South Whidbey is the first school district in the nation to deliver produce on a regular basis to a Chartwells-managed food service.

  • The new ½ acre School Farm provides garden-based curriculum to the South Whidbey Academy and the Elementary School while growing for the cafeterias.
  • Langley Middle School Garden is a small (10 bed) garden cultivated by the Seventh Grade science classes, and grows produce for the cafeterias. There are plans to double the size of the garden this year.
  • The South Whidbey Elementary School Garden is a tiny garden of raised beds cultivated by the Second Graders.
  • Interns will be growing and delivering fresh produce to the cafeterias each week, as well as teaching garden-based curriculum, and cultivating the garden with the students.
  • Two interns are selected to work at the School Farm and Gardens.

Training includes:

  • Leadership skills: Project management, volunteer coordination, work party coordination, outreach and publicity, curriculum development, teaching and public speaking, working with youth, service learning.
  • Sustainable agricultural practices: Soil cultivation, growing starts, planting, weeding, irrigation, harvesting, produce management, hoophouse cultivation, crop rotation, composting & vermiculture, record keeping.
  • Ongoing mentoring and regular check-ins to support the personal and professional growth and development of the apprentice.
  • This training may qualify you for internship credit. Please check with your advisor.

Position specifics:

  • Hours and duration: The training runs from March through October 31st. Each intern should expect to work a flexible 35 hr week, seasonally variable, with some weekend work as needed.
  • Compensation: We currently can offer a stipend of $300 per month and this amount may increase depending on fundraising. We are participating in the Farm Internship Project of the State of Washington.
  • Housing will be in a home-stay, or, if selected as the Whidbey Institute intern, in a rustic cabin.
  • Transportation: The gardens are about 5 miles from each other. A car is handy, but a bicycle is sufficient. There is free bus service on the island, but connections between the gardens are not ideal. We make every effort to support interns who choose low-carbon bicycle transportation.
  • Food: from the gardens and Food Bank.
  • Interview process: Final applicants will be interviewed in person or by Skype.
  • Applications requested by January 15th, 2015.

Community Gardening Leadership Training APPLICATION 2015

Community Gardening Leadership Training DESCRIPTION 2015

To apply, please send application to
Abigail Lazarowski

Below is a graphic of the interconnections in this community-based program. For the pdf, click HERE. CGLT-forWeb-Resized-Lo-res copy