Launching our 2017 Fundraiser!

As fall rolls in, we enter our 2017 fundraising season!

We are so fortunate again this year to have received a matching grant from Hand in Hand Partners for $10,000 that enables every dollar we raise to be doubled. Isn’t that fantastic?

If you’d like to support our work and enable another crew of amazing apprentices to join us next year, please visit our donation site!

Thank you!


Reflections on the season

It has been a wonderful season here on Whidbey Island; full of fun work parties, big harvests, and thought provoking classes. We’re incredibly grateful to our wonderful crew of apprentices who contributed so much time and energy throughout the year and to the larger community who supported us all along the way. Keep reading to hear more about what we’ve been up to.

It has been a busy and productive season over at the Good Cheer Food Bank Garden. The most exciting new development is the creation of the Big ACRE (Abundant Community Resource for Everyone), a new full acre of land that is in cultivation on school district land next to Good Cheer Garden. It has become a collaboration between the Good Cheer Food Bank and the South Whidbey School District and is growing produce for both organizations. It is an amazing feat and we’re all excited to see how much more local food will be produced because of it! Some large work parties throughout the season have helped make that project possible, and the regular Wednesday work parties have continued throughout the season as well. Between the growing spaces they’ve already grown 13,465.75 lb of produce and that number is expected to increase significantly over the next few months!

While things are always a little bit more quiet over the Westgarden, it has still been a beautiful and productive season. We’ve continued to have some lovely work party lunches under the apple tree and brought a few new volunteers out on Thursdays to help. Our apprentice, Anna, brought with her an impressive skill set in agriculture and helped the garden thrive. We tried a few southern treats from her native South Carolina like sourgum, okra, and cow pea which, as predicted, did not do so well but the tomatoes and root crops were abundant. Anna and Abigail, the Westgarden Steward, will both be moving on next season but they’re excited for the medicinal herb section of the garden to expand and hopeful that the space will stay in good care.

It has been an energetic and colorful season over at the South Whidbey School Farm and Garden Program. Garden apprentices, Liza and Devin, have helped teach an incredible amount of classes to primary and middle school students while growing food for the school cafeterias and Whidbey Island Nourishes. An exciting new development has been the addition of culinary classes which allows students to become involved in the cooking component of gardening. The children are always excited for garden nibbles out in the field so it’s a natural transition to bring that excitement into the kitchen. Our apprentice Liza even started a Pizza Camp this summer. Each day of camp the group of students made a different component of pizza like pesto, tomato sauce, cheese, and dough, and at the end of the week had a big pizza party. Stay tuned for more exciting stories from the SWSD Farm and Garden Program!


From left: Liza, Stoni, Anna, and Devin

Thank you Liza, Stoni, Anna, and Devin for all your hard work and for making us laugh all season long! It’s been a good one!

We’re hiring! Come apprentice with us in 2017.

It’s already that time of year again where we start planning for next year, update our job descriptions, and put the word out to find our next crew of apprentices! If you are interested in becoming an apprentice with us in 2017 please read more about the program here.

Our program, now called Grow Whidbey, has shifted a bit (which you can read more about here) and we’re excited to create a more focused collaboration between the Good Cheer Food Bank and the South Whidbey School District Farm and Garden Program. There will be three apprentice positions in 2017 split between the two programs. We are seeking a Good Cheer Apprentice who will focus on food production and farm cultivation in the food banks’ two gardens and new acre farm, and a School Farm/Garden Curriculum Apprentice who will work with teaching staff at the school farm to bring garden-based education to elementary and middle school students. The third position is the School Farm/Garden Production Apprentice which has already been filled for the season.

Please explore out website to learn more about our program and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have!

Grow Whidbey: A new iteration of CGLT

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!

Welcome to our new crew of apprentices!

We are thrilled to welcome our four new apprentices to the Community Gardening Leadership Training program this year! They’ve come to our island from all over the country and from varying backgrounds in activism, farming, and teaching. We are excited for what will unfold as we spend the next eight months together learning, gardening, and teaching!

--2016From left to right: Stoni Tomson, Good Cheer Garden apprentice. Devin Mounts, halftime Good Cheer Garden apprentice and halftime South Whidbey School District Farm and Garden apprentice. Liza Elman, South Whidbey School District Farm and Garden apprentice. Anna Strick, Whidbey Institute Westgarden Apprentice.

Stay tuned for their personal bios and more stories from the program!


Bayview Farmer’s Market Supports CGLT!

IMG_1649The Community Gardening Leadership Training (CGLT) is truly a community project. Three community organizations partner to make the apprenticeship run each year, our gardens are fueled by volunteers, generous community members house our apprentices each year, and now our local Farmers Market has made a generous donation to our program! The web of connections and support is so wonderful here on Whidbey Island.

For the past few years, the Bayview Farmers Market has taken any additional funds they have at the end of the year and given it back to the community. This year they have chosen CGLT as one of the lucky recipients! The image to the left shows Shirlee Read, the Bayview Farmer’s Market Board President, and Loren Imes, Board Treasure, handing over a $500 check to CGLT Coordinator Abigail Lazarowski.

Thank you Bayview Farmer’s Market for your generous donation and for all that you do for our community!