Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FHHS students Parker, Cody,  and Ryan with co-mentor Marion Melville, and deputy administrator David Kelly after the students presented their request for permission to site their greenhouse at the Land & Sea Community Garden site. After hearing from the boys and County Administrator Pete Rose, the council voted 5-0 in favor of their request. This team of students are in FHHS teacher Jenny Wilson's Community Projects class, and were mentored by Land & Sea mentors Scott Fitzstephens, Marion Melville, and Linda Degnan Cobos.  Photo: Linda Degnan Cobos.
Above: the boys outside the county council office, with one of their 3 mentors, the very kind and wonderful Marion Melville and deputy administrator David Kelly, a really nice guy. Everybody looks so happy! Pete Rose, our County's administrator - also a really nice, thoughtful man - and David Kelly, Debbie Emery (who has given another group of students doing a trails project for Community Service help, by letting them know the pathways everyone uses, as she observes students and others passing below her office window daily as she works), and everyone in the county administration was so helpful and supportive to these guys, even in the middle of all the other hard work they do every day.  Maureen See and Ingrid Carlson were also so encouraging to the boys and gave them great technical guidance to prepare for their presentation, and yesterday the Council members had great questions, and seemed to like what the boys put together a lot. After a short, thoughtful discussion, they voted all in favor.
Now the boys go to finish their contract for the grant.
These guys are accomplishing a lot, and thanks to all these wonderful people, they're getting a great education on the way.
Ian posted a story on the boys and their project on the SJ Update, and a generous islander this week sent Land & Sea a donation to the boys, to go towards the costs to maintain the greenhouse.
The boys went to Islanders Bank and opened a special account for the greenhouse with that money -  Brenna at Islanders helped us on that, and also gave the guys a lot of background info on the process, and encouragement.

All those kids in Jenny Wilson's Community Projects class are so great, and she does a great job guiding them. They are all so motivated, it's inspiring to see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Community Garden on Blair and Second - last year's crops.

The three boys from Jenny Wilson's high school Community Service class - Cody, Parker, and Ryan - working on building a community greenhouse, hope to site it on this educational garden property. The boys are also putting together a plan b and c in the event this site doesn't work out; for other possible places to use as an alternate set up site, or as places for temporary storage if the greenhouse is sited here, but needs to be moved at a later date to accommodate the county's plans for the property.

The boys' aim, as they explain it, is to grow greens for the school lunch program in their greenhouse, and make it sustainable by recruiting underclassmen each year to carry oversight of the greenhouse on, and to use the income from the greens to pay for supplies and maintenance. They decided this garden site they're hoping for is a pretty great spot for this use.

Heritage pear trees and the garden field . Maybe there will be a pretty little greenhouse out here, too!

What has happened so far:  Land & Sea mentors Scott and Linda visited the Community Services class and talked about the community garden. These three students came up with the greenhouse idea for the site, then worked with Scott on getting a grant to fund the purchase. The agreement the chapter has for use of the property would have to be expanded to allow the boys to site their greenhouse. Scott, Linda and Marion of Land & Sea, as the contractor, checked with the county to see if that might be possible, and got a positive response. In the meantime, thanks to the boys' and mentor Scott's hard work and the work of another greenhouse student years before, the boys were approved for a grant. Now the three boys are working to get on the County Council's agenda to see if final approval from the County Council members is possible.

Some history: The opportunity for the boys to get this far in this project was also made possible by the work of another Community Service class student a few years back who also was successful in getting funding to build a community greenhouse. That greenhouse was not built due to the difficulty of finding a property owner willing to site the project; the difficulty most times due to liability and related issues. The schools, fairgrounds, and other properties became not possible then for those reasons. His initial work, and the foundation holding the grant, helped make Parker, Ryan and Cody's new project possible.

Cody, Ryan, and Parker's project would be under their supervision, under the auspices of Land & Sea Slow Food chapter, so that if sited on the property on Blair and Second it would become part of our county agreement, if approved, and included in our insurance coverage. Land & Sea chapter would be willing to take ownership of the greenhouse in order to make this project possible, with the express intent to turn ownership over to the school or county if ever that is possible or desired by the school or county, and to make the greenhouse completely available for use by the school and community until that time comes. Any other ideas for ownership of the greenhouse will be welcomed;  Land & Sea's whole interest in this project is in making it possible. - Any one willing to take on ownership and responsibility in our place so this greenhouse can happen in a timely manner will be welcomed!

The greenhouse the boys chose is able to be moved, in case the time should come that the county would need the property for other uses.
These kids are really amazing, and so motivated! They worked on this individually and as a group all through the break to get their project ready to present.

A separate bank account within our non profit chapter would be opened, would be overseen by the kids who run the project, and would be devoted simply to the greenhouse. Any money coming in through Land & Sea to the greenhouse project will go into this account and then directly back to the greenhouse.
(See info at bottom of post about our main account).

Ryan, Parker and Cody are making plans for presentations to the FH Town and SJ County Councils, and will be doing a number of presentations to the public about their project.
We wish them the best with their project. They're amazing boys doing something a lot of people in our county are really excited about! Great job Guys!

[Land & Sea chapter's policy on financial donations: Donations go to our account at Islander's Bank. Any and all money that comes in goes directly back out into the community. Although we've rarely actively sought donations, donations offered to us have funded an irrigation system, our insurance coverage for the garden, and a small one-time stipend for our Community Projects/garden manager mentor this season.
Also funded: scholarships to the Quillisascut teaching farm, for 4 local young people so far. These scholarships are ongoing, and especially targeted toward local high school students and graduates, and have been provided by two generous local donors. The experiences the Quillisascut opportunity has provided for kids from our community has been called life changing by the participants. We actively seek young people who have been through Andy and Liz's Food For Thought Chef program. The first student we sent to Quillisascut  2 summers ago was a high school student in our Slow Food Youth program we had placed as an intern with Quail Croft Cheese here on the island. Her scholarship was provided by an  island resident who's also allowed us space in her greenhouse on the west side to grow starts in this spring.
Donations from a local working couple will also help fund a farm work internship program for young students, now in the works.]

A reminder of the lovely harvest from last year's first garden.

Garlic in the garden. We're not using the irrigation system at this point - there is plenty of water still falling as rain!

Here's the crowd that braved the chilly weather for the workshop pruning older trees, a couple Sundays ago.  We had close to 30 participants sign up! That was fun!
the cutting hook tool thing - it's the wonderful tree pruning apparatus!

An older pruning tool. The tree pruner likes these even better than the modern metal ones  available these days - the older wood ones are lighter and work really well. These were purchased in Eastern WA.

Up in the tree on a fruit picking ladder. A set of steps, one leg for support - a nice design that gets you in close up high.

Conservative pruning on older trees that haven't been pruned for a while - map out the pruning over a couple year's time in this situation was the advice given by this particular tree pruner.

The chill was actually good for tree pruning, the tree would find the trimming less stressful because of it.

And a couple of the pears a few weeks later, now showing more signs of buds and leaves.

Here's one of the apples after pruning.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011



 (Photos: Linda Degnan Cobos) 

Photos above are of sod removal, tilling, planting, irrigating, weeding, harvesting by Land & Sea Slow Food chapter volunteers, community members, and students. 
The Land & Sea Slow Food Garden was started and is run by Friday Harbor's Land & Sea Slow Food Chapter, a chapter of Slow Food USA
We are a non-profit, operating independently of the SJI school district or other schools. 
In providing this garden, we enthusiastically welcome participation by students of all the island's schools for Slow Food Land & Sea sponsored workshops and activities. 

We donate produce we grow to Friday Harbor schools and the community at large, and work to plant things schools need for their lunch program. We provide learning opportunities of all kinds to benefit students of all ages, including mentoring.
 Our mission for this wonderful garden is community participation and education and also supplying needed produce to benefit the school lunch and other community programs. 
We also have arranged for guest speakers at the schools, including an intern from Ecuador, representing the indigenous cooperative Kallari Chocolate, and documentary filmmakers from Moving Images. (More on the Kallari visit here). We've sponsored community movies at the school, Palace Theater ("Food, Inc" - thanks Aaron!) Village at the Harbour, the FH Library, the Drs. Office, and the Friday Harbor House. We've successfully placed high school age interns with a local farmer, and  sponsored cob-oven building workshops with local youth and families with Ryan Browne. Land & Sea has co-sponsored farmer parties in exchange for our helping out with work and other benefits to farms, and we have hosted many large fisherman dinners with salmon, labor, and space donated by the Marinkovich family, to welcome visitors and link people to people. We try our hardest to get messages out from farmers to our community when we're asked, and to support our local sustainable agricultural services.
Our main web page exists to educate and link people together, and make opportunities for learning and farm work known.

Because of the generosity of a local working family and another kind benefactor, we have been able to send students and other local young people each year to a one week summer full-immersion workshop at the Quillasascut teaching farm each summer for the last 2 years, and plan to do this again this summer!

One of our most wonderful achievements last fall was supplying a community benefit dinner with heritage Ozette potatoes. These delicious potatoes were developed by the native people of our region and are recognized by Slow Food USA/ International on the Ark of Taste. The seed potatoes we used to grow them were gathered on Sucia, San Juan and other local islands and donated by biologist Madrona Murphy. The potato crop was dug up - harvested - by a cooking class from the high school, which was really exciting. 
We also do our best to link people to people, and work with other organizations to benefit our local kids and community.

Our garden's irrigation material was provided by generous donations from the Masonic Lodge, and Browne Building Supply. Other generous donors at the start included Harbor Rental, Soroptimists, and Tim Nicol-McGee, in addition to M. Melville, the Degnan-Cobos family and the Marinkovich family. Uprising Seeds and High Mowing Seed companies have also made generous donations, in addition to other kind and much-appreciated community-minded contributors listed on the following posts.
Declan designed and made us the lovely cedar information podiums around the garden with local materials he gathered from Bill Maas and  Dave Hall. 

Last fall our chapter also supplied the school with greens, beans, squash and garlic gleaned from local farms at the end of their seasons by Land & Sea volunteers. We've also grown and supplied snap peas, beans, and squash in our garden on Blair and Second, and now have garlic, peas, and beans planted. In addition to salad greens and a number of other starts now getting taller by the minute at our greenhouse on the west side of the island.

If you'd like to read more about the Land & Sea Slow Food  Garden, scroll down the page to find our earliest post, then read your way back up the page. It's really great to have you visit! To take part, or get on our Land & Sea mailing list, contact, call 317-5890. or stop by the garden when you see volunteers out there working. Everyone is welcome. 
Great things come out of this little place!

Look at upcoming posts, and at the informational podiums at the garden for info on things like: What does 'nitrogen fixing' mean? How do we keep away deer? And which weeds, pests, and beneficial insects we are encountering in the garden? We will do our best to keep the podiums updated - we are also happy to have volunteers who'd like to do artwork, writing, or photographing for these informational stands. If you have an idea, let us know, we'll do our best to help you make it happen.

Please look at information in earlier posts, directly below, which also can be seen on the informational podiums at our garden. These cedar podiums also contain info on what is planted now, and other tidbits about gardening and what's going on in the garden.
We will try to keep this page updated. Posts are upcoming on the tree pruning workshop we had last month, and on possible new beds, and other simple additions to the garden.

To find out more, visit our main page and "About' page, or contact Linda, Maureen, and Marion at or call 360-317-5890

And visit the Land & Sea garden on Blair Ave and Second St. in Friday Harbor, across from the High School and Middle School on Blair, and from the Courthouse on Second St. It's everyone's garden!


MULCHED WITH HAYLAGE THOUGHTFULLY DONATED BY BRUCE AND COLLEEN FROM MITCHELL BAY FARM. Colleen called and suggested we pile on some of this lovely hay to protect the soil for winter's cold, and enrich the soil, too. Bruce and Colleen roll hay into bundles and wrap them in plastic - they look like big marshmallows - and allow the hay to break down and slightly ferment, making a nutritious feast for animals and soil that smells like root beer!

Matt and Lucy consulting on planting methods.

Food for us workers from Bruce's garden and kitchen!
Bruce doing a great job of teaching us all what to do next!

Shann and Claudia go right to work getting that garlic going.

Linda, Lucy and Maureen getting those cloves in the row.
Candace and Bruce, with Shann & Matt.

This was a great day with Bruce Robinson, Shann, Claudia, Candace, Linda, Lucy, Matt and Maureen, and others who dropped in for a moment or two, planting garlic in the garden!

New - Work Party and Pruning Workshop!!

Tree Pruning Workshop For Older Trees This Sat. at Land & Sea Garden on Blair Ave! 

Trees in late summer
Hi Everyone! 
This Saturday, for anyone interested in learning a bit about pruning older fruit trees - The apple and pear trees located at our Land & Sea Garden site on Blair St. across from the High School and Middle School will be pruned this Saturday, at 10 am. 

This simple workshop will be about an hour long, and will be of help to people who have older fruit trees.
If you're interested in attending, please let us know
by emailing back to or call Linda at 317-5890 (leave a message).
We hope to film the pruning - wish us luck!
Not summer anymore - in fact it's last week! Photos: Linda DC

Below are photos from last Saturday's work party at the Land & Sea Garden. 
Thanks Mariya, Helen, Scott, Bruce, Tasha and little ones, Jesse and daughter, Maureen, Lucy, Linda and everyone for coming out in the cold weather!! Our garlic is looking good, and now favas and peas are planted, too!!
Look for our expanded garden soon!!

Photos: Linda Degnan Cobos

Below,  the lovely little starts in our DMRS Greenhouse on the sunny (sometimes) westside of the island, up in the highlands! Soon these starts will be ready for transplanting!! Thank you to our generous friend for the wonderful space!

Photos: Linda Degnan Cobos

New - Work Party and Pruning Workshop!!

Fun in Our Garden!!!
Moving Garlic, Planting Favas/Peas (3/5/11), and 
Free Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop (3/12/11)

Garden manager Scott and Land & Sea invite you to come to a work party this Saturday, March 5th at 10 am at the Land & Sea Garden on Blair St. across from the High School/Middle School. 
Scott says "I would like to move one row of garlic plants and put a few rows of favas and peas in the garden this Saturday."
The next Saturday (3/12/11), we'll be sponsoring a workshop on pruning fruit trees, at the lovely old apples and pear tree  at our garden site  
(that's Blair St, across from the high school and middle school).  
Saturday March 12, 10 am.

Scott says: "Can we send out a request for volunteers/workshop attendees for both of these?"

If you'd like to come, just show up at 10 am. We'll have some hand tools for the work party, but you can bring your own if you'd like.
Questions? Write,
or call 317-5890
L & S co-leaders: Linda Degnan Cobos and Maureen Marinkovich


THE LAND & SEA GARDEN GARLIC PLANTING WORKSHOP WITH LONG-TIME ISLANDER, GARDENER AND TEACHER BRUCE ROBINSON WILL BE AT THE GARDEN BETWEEN BLAIR, 2ND AND REED STREETS - One PM this Sat. 10/16. We'll plant 3 rows of garlic starts donated by Bruce for use by the wonderful Food for Thought SJ Island School Lunch Program started and run by Liz Varvaro and Andy Radziolowski. We should be working for a couple of hours - arrive when you can, and wear your gardening clothes!
Small but mighty, with more to come! (Ozette & Haida potatoes & squash, to follow.)

String beans (FH Middle School in the background, left photo)/Below, Eleanor is a hunter/gatherer . All photos Linda DC

Hi Everyone!
Here are lovely pictures of our first harvest! - string beans picked in the twilight last week (we couldn't wait - the deer were starting to look just a bit too hungry). These beans were donated to Andy and Liz at the school's Food for Thought lunch program started and run by all San Juan islanders, with initial support from Land & Sea.
We're planning on putting in garlic and kale and harvesting potatoes next week - stay tuned here and through email for details.To add your name to our email list, contact Right now Maureen's getting our events calendar updated, too - we'll link to that as soon as it's ready!

And - the amazing Food for Thought program started by Andy & Liz will take up our suggestion to create a food broker/farm liason intern position for students at the high school, and we'll continue to support that however we can. That's been an important missing link for getting local food at good prices into schools, and we are happy that the idea looks like it will take root! This can be great training for a young person - developing relationships, putting together a calling schedule and a system to contact farmers and supply the kitchen - basically, learning to be a food broker - which is something the islands also desperately need on the commercial level between restaurants and growers. And it would be one more way to get good working relationships between the kitchen and people who might not have lots of connections with the school. Good all around!
We're so lucky on our island to have an amazing woman working as a link between our local producers and our local Co Op, serving as a role model for this internship! Above, 2 photos of Eleanor, the beautiful Patron Saint of Hunter - Gatherers.
Eleanor Hartmann stocks our miracle of a San Juan Community Co Op with the most wonderful locally grown foods she and Anna Spears search out and gather from our islands and all over our region, and from family farms in parts of rural Oregon - and not only that, but also serves on the Co Op board, too. Eleanor volunteers and on her own time has introduced herself to our island farmers and food artisans, then has gone out into the field to bring back what they make and grow.
What a great example of making things happen!
October is sign up time at the San Juan Community Co Op, to renew or if you want to join.
Don't miss out on the local bounty while you're there! Vegetables, fruits, nuts, honey, milk, eggs, cheese, juice, poultry, seafood, fresh and preserved meats, ice cream, breads and baked goods at very good prices!