Join us for Summer Farm to Table Dinner in the Fields

 Great company, local food, and wine.

EduCulture’s Summer 2015
Farm to Table Dinner & Farmraiser

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hosted in the fields of Bainbridge Vineyards
on Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms

8989 Day Road East, Bainbridge Island, WA


Know where your food has come from
 through knowing those who produced it for you… Know where your food has come from
 by the very way it tastes: its freshness telling you 
how far it may have traveled
… so that you can stand up for the land
 that has offered it to you. – Gary Nabhan, A Terroir-ist’s Manifesto for Eating in Place


Join EduCulture this summer for an authentic farm to table experience in the fields where your food is grown.  Enjoy the pleasure of connecting place and taste, situated on the farmland where the ingredients of your meal are raised. The dinner and dessert will feature what’s ripe and sweet within our regional foodshed at the height of the summer season. This program is part of EduCulture’s effort to respond to a call for community based edible experiences grounded in tasting what we most need to learn about our local and regional foodshed.

Second courseThis foodshed to fork dinner is part of a series of seasonal dinners EduCulture is developing to bring people together around the wild and cultivated food traditions of our Pacific Northwest bioregion, some call Salmon Nation, including from our partner farms.

FT Dinner 7-14 entree

EduCulture is partnering with our Chef in Residence Leslee Pate, of The Food Shed,  and Local Guest Chef, Tad Mitsui, to help shape and deliver a menu built on what is seasonal and regional, all sourced locally, fairly and sustainably.

  • Enjoy a locally grownfarm to fork to cork dinner on Bainbridge Island.
  • Dine among the beautiful fields of Bainbridge Vineyards and Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms.
  • The meal will be prepared and presented featuring the ripeness and abundance of the summer season locally sourced from Laughing Crow Farm, Butler Green Farms, Bainbridge Island Farms, Paulson Farms, and other local wild and cultivated landscapes.

A great ending to a wonderful evening together.

The Four Course Menu will feature food prepared on site in a Wood Fired Oven:
1st Course: Oven Fired Focaccia Topped with Chèvre, Zucchini and Caramelized Onions

2nd Course: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Shaved Hard Cheese, Basil and Garlic Olive Oil

Main Course: King Salmon Fillet on an a Bed of Oven Fired Potatoes with Roasted Peppers, Fennel Relish and Wild Flower Butter

Dessert: Chocolate or Lemon Cakes in Jars with Fresh Cream and Raspberry Compote

  • Each course will be paired with slow wine, locally grown and produced by Bainbridge Vineyards.
  • Take a walking tour among the fields that serve as the source of your meal.
  • Appreciate the terroir of your wine while standing among the rows of vines that produced the grapes.
  • Enjoy the company of Betsey Wittick, farmer and winemaker, Laughing Crow Farms and Brian MacWhorter, Farmer, Butler Green Farms
  • Be a part of seeding & supporting EduCulture’s Edible Education Programs in 2015-16.

Raising a toast to a great summer evening.

This special event is a farm-raiser for our 2015-16 Edible Education Programs. 

$95 per person, a portion of which will be tax deductible.

Bring your friends, family, or even better – gift someone a place at the table.

To reserve your place at the table, please contact EduCulture at 206-780-5797 or  Seating is limited.

Enjoying the last rays of sun over the hill.

Leadership in Edible Education Taking Root

EduCulture and Antioch University Seattle launch a new
Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program
to serve K-12 and Community Based Education in the Puget Sound Region

Through an on-going partnership with the Master of Arts in Education Program at Antioch University Seattle, and their professional endorsement program in Environmental and Sustainability Education, EduCulture is launching a groundbreaking Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program, designed for formal and informal educators, and other professionals, who are interested in making a difference through edible education, in schools and the wider community.

Edible Education encompasses the entire way we think about food in schools, from wellness policies to the quality of school lunch, from the content of core curriculum to career and technical education, from school gardens to food waste recycling, and from the ecology of a school campus to our wider food community.  It is one area of education that threads through all aspects of school culture, from what and where students learn to what they eat, to how they recycle.  Just as our school food chains reflect the wider community food chains that support them, so does the culture of the curriculum have the opportunity to connect with the culture of the school and the wider community.

Farm,tug of war 1

In the 21st century, edible education has become the vanguard and crossroads of many fields of education, from environmental to sustainability, social to global, experiential to vocational, outdoor to horticultural, health and nutrition to school lunch reform.  Food is a topic of study that can be found across the curriculum and embedded, implicitly and explicitly, across standards and grade levels. Its roots in American education date back a century to the development of home economics.  In 1900, the educator John Dewey suggested that the “school itself shall be made a genuine form of active community life, instead of a place set apart in which to learn lessons.” (School and Society) More than a century later, his wisdom still rings true.
The Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program aims to help define this evolving field of study, examine best practices and programmatic landscapes, and help students find a place for themselves in this growing educational movement.
Antioch University Seattle has been a dedicated partner in the development of this Leadership Program.  “Our Masters Program and indeed the whole campus is quite excited about this first-ever professional education initiative,” said Ed Mikel of Antioch U., co-founder and director of this program.  “It represents an area of primary study, practice, policy, and everyday life that is vital to the health and well-being of all peoples and, indeed, the whole web of life on earth.”

 FFCE10, final dialogue

“We are looking to attract the trailblazers in edible education who want to reflect on and deepen their practice, as well as those new or on the fringes of this emerging field who want to make a difference but need an educational grounding to enter into this field,” says EduCulture’s Jon Garfunkel, who co-founded this program with Ed Mikel.

“We are building a professional learning community for classroom teachers who want to get their students out to the garden or farm, the Food Service Directors who want to build a CTE program for students to learn and work in the school kitchen, the farmers or leaders in the food community who see education as part of their mission and vision. This Leadership Program is about enhancing and enriching school and community wellness by connecting place and taste to how we live, eat and learn.”


This Leadership in Edible Education Program carries the follow aims and objectives:

  • Building professional repertoires
  • Focus on Culture of Curriculum, Culture of Schools and Culture of Communities
  • Becoming an educational laboratory and community brain trust
  • Bridging Classroom & Communities
  • Building Learning Communities
  • Cultivating school and community leadership
  • Calling upon the emerging expertise of participants
  • Lived field studies centered in actual school and community programs
  • Serving multiple sectors and stakeholders
  • Education for Social Justice & Community Heritage
  • Reclaiming parts of our past in order to seed our future
  • Strengthening and preserving our regional and local food communities
  • Educating this and future generations of co-producers


This certificate is spread over four quarterly courses aimed at building the professional repertoire of those who seek to work in the field of edible education.

Summer 2015 (July 9, 16, 23, 30), Leadership in Edible Education I
Education Towards Food, Citizenship & Community

Fall 2015 (Sept.-Nov.), Leadership in Edible Education II
Food in Schools and Postsecondary Institutions

Winter 2016 (Jan.-March), Leadership in Edible Education III
Edible Education I: Theory & Practice

Spring 2016 (April-June), Leadership in Edible Education IV
Edible Education II: Field Experience & Culminating Field Project

This program is open to formal and informal educators. Field classes for each quarterly course will be held over four days, alternating between Seattle and Bainbridge Island/Kitsap.  Course work is offered in multiple professional education options, from AUS Degree and Environmental & Sustainability Education Endorsement Credit to Continuing Education Credits and Clock hours.  There is also a Core Field Course option for informal educators or those not needing credit. The Leadership in Edible Education Certificate of Completion is received through participation in all four courses. Courses I-III may be taken independently with same credit options. Scholarships have been made available for people of color to participate in this program.  We also have reduced tuition options for people based on financial need.

To learn more about the Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program, visit our website:

To learn more about the first course in the program, Education Towards Food , Citizenship & Community, offered this summer, visit our website:

To inquire or register for this program, contact: or call 206-780-5797

For more about Antioch University Seattle’s degree/endorsement options, contact:

Summer Volunteer Farm Work Parties



We invite you to join us this season for one or more of our Summer Volunteer Work Parties, to tend to the crops planted on our instructional plot on Morales Farm (Corner of Lovgreen & Hwy 305) and Historic Suyematsu Farm on Day Road. (Locations for the dates below to be determined and will be posted on our website calendar.) These work parties are a vital part of maintaining our crops over the summer in order to have a strong harvest this fall when students return.

Five work parties will be held this summer. They are scheduled on alternating Tuesdays, with 4 to be held in the morning, and 1 in the early evening:

June 30; 9:30 – 11:30am – Morales Farm
July 14; 9:30 – 11:30am
July 28; 5 – 7pm
August 11; 9:30 – 11:30am
August 25; 9:30 – 11:30am

Volunteers at Morales Farm will help out by hilling up potatoes and weeding the pumpkin patch. Suyematsu Farm work parties will center around mulching and fertilizing the historic strawberry plot.

So, mark your calendars and join us for a fun and productive time on the farm this summer. Thank you for your help keeping these programs growing!

An Interview with Howard Block, Owner of Bay Hay & Feed

Howard Block and Ce-Ann Parker established Bay Hay & Feed in Bainbridge Island’s Rolling Bay Neighborhood in the late 1970’s. From its beginnings as a feed store, it has expanded to encompass a very successful nursery, gift store, and outlet for local foods. The store has been recognized as a “Washington Green 50” company on the list of most sustainably operated businesses in the state.

Each year, Bay Hay donates hundreds of seed packets to EduCulture for use in local school gardens and instructional plots. EduCulture’s Jon Garfunkel sat down for a conversation with Howard about his business philosophy and plans for the future.

Bay Hay & Feed owner Howard Block stocks some spring selections in the store's nursery.

Bay Hay & Feed owner Howard Block stocks some spring selections in the store’s nursery.

JG: When and why did you start Bay Hay & Feed as a business on Bainbridge Island?

HB: November ‘79 we opened. I didn’t do it with the intention of having a feed store; I did it with the intention of just buying the building, and at first putting in a natural food’s business. I said, “I’ll try the feed store first for a little bit” – and liked it right away. Because it was a feed store prior to our purchasing it, it worked out great.

JG: What was your experience in feed stores prior to starting the business?

HB: None – I had no feed store experience prior – I had a lot of retail experience. My roommate from University of New Hampshire was here the day I bought it, and he had grown up on a farm. The previous owner who said he would be here to help and train me never really came back to the store after he sold it, so I was out there on my own. With the help of customers and my roommate from college, I was able to get through the first week, and the only thing I had raised prior to that was chickens, so I was pretty green.

JG: Whose needs were you meeting in the community at that time?

HB: The whole animal kingdom on Bainbridge Island has changed over the years. There were a lot more horses in peoples’ backyards; a lot of people had chickens, raised rabbits, and sheep. There were a few cows on the island, you could count them on one hand. About 20-30 people raising pigs back then, and there were a lot of roosters being raised – that’s who we were catering to back then. And then we just started building from that, going by word of mouth. We didn’t really advertise; we basically provided people with the food they needed, and then started asking, “what would you like to see?” We started growing from there. We got more products relating to animals in. We were the first people to sell Science Diet, a premium dog food; people thought we were crazy selling a bag of dog food for $25, it was unheard of. We realized better food is better for the dog and Science Diet was virtually the only one back then. We started building the dog and cat business, and that pulled more customers in. And as our customer count increased, we were able to increase our product count. As you have more regular people coming in you can find more products for them to purchase. A few years into it, my wife Ce-Ann decided she was not that interested in the feed business; she has a horticulture degree and decided to open up a nursery. So that we did – we opened up Bay Hay & Feed. Actually, a few moments ago I was up there looking at old pictures of just about the first day of the nursery, to put on our Facebook page.

JG: So what today would we recognize of the Bay Hay & Feed of 1980?

HB: I still have a few products I bought in the 1970’s and never sold – a couple left (laughs). What’s still there? It’s changed so much. All the feed used to be in the main store, piled close to the ceiling; since we bought it in the wintertime, Ce-Ann and I used to sit on the top of the feed because that’s where all the heat was; we used to sit about six feet from the ceiling on big piles of feed, it was nice and warm up there. Other than that, if you were down at ground level, you were freezing.

JG: Where does education play a role in Bay Hay & Feed’s mission and purpose?

HB: One of the things we do is educate all of the employees. It’s very hard to find qualified nursery people. We tried to find the right nursery people from the get go and it was impossible, so now we switched gears and try to find people who have an interest in it and then train them up from there. It’s a long process, it’s a few years per employee. But a lot of our employees stick around – we have a lot of them over 25 years, and it works better that way – they know what we’re looking for while they’re working here. Education – it’s all encouraged. When some of the younger employees work here in the summer, through high school – we encourage them on to college – get a good education. This is a great starter job, in some cases – in some cases it’s a life-fulfilling job. Some will probably be here until they retire. We’ve actually had two employees go over 65 and retire, that were here for years – I guess I’m the next one. But I’m not going to retire at 65!

JG: What about in terms of the role this business has in the community? You’re the feed store on the island – do you find yourself educating customers about topics related to what you’re selling?

HB: We’re not a self-serve store. We’re a store where the customer expects the employee to educate them in the product. It’s everything from a garden sprinkler, to seeding a lawn, to planting the proper vegetables that grow in the area – it’s very labor intensive that way. Probably in all my businesses the most labor intensive business that I’ve ever owned, and the amount of time that you spend with a customer is substantial – which makes it a difficult thing for a retail business – because you’re expecting your employees to not only wait on the customer but also do their daily jobs, and sometimes the customer is always first and daily jobs just don’t get done. There are about 32 employees working here now, and part of that is so we can give the customer service that’s necessary plus we’re educating the customer, so we’re hiring people in to do the other things so that the most experienced employees that need to educate the customer are out on the floor. We don’t expect customers to just grab and go. That’s not how this store works.

JG: I’ve also noticed you started offering classes recently for the community.

HB: We offer classes occasionally; when it’s busy, it’s really difficult. It would be great to have them all the time, it’s almost impossible, and this year it’s so busy because the weather is so warm.

JG: Didn’t you offer a kids’ camp also?

HB: We had a camp in 2014 – probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. I loved it! It was “how to work in a feed store.” Everything from teaching young kids how to wait on a customer – what a purchase order is – what a checkbook is – how to put things away, why you put them on a shelf straight, what inventory is – all the different aspects of how to run a feed store. It’s something that I never got to do except with my uncle when I was really young. I’d love to do it again – we expected to do it again this year but the season came on so fast that I couldn’t stress the employees out that way, because the employees chipped in and helped out. But now we’re at our limits of what we can do. Until we get more employees or until the weather changes back to normal, it’s not possible. Hopefully next year – I was really disappointed when we had to cancel. Probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. When the kids came into camp, they didn’t know what to expect, and to see a kid answer the phone and say, “Good morning, Bay Hay & Feed,” – you know, the kids are pretty shy and this just opened them right up. When they had to walk up to a customer and ask them if they could help them – and then they got to ring them up – their faces were just lit up.

JG: Were you the camp director?

HB: No, my wife was camp director. I was – I don’t know – camp supervisor…(laughing)

JG: You started a sustainability campaign a few years back. What does sustainability look like in practice at Bay Hay, and what do you feel have been the successes and challenges along the way?

HB: Well, part of it is that I couldn’t do it myself – I didn’t know enough about it. And it’s a difficult decision, you have to make decisions continuously about whether to be sustainable and how to be sustainable and then still make a profit, still move forward. So I hired somebody from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. She started out at one day a week and is now pretty much up to full time. She works as a sustainability director and also as an HR person, that’s where they can control things the best. The person had retail experience, which was great – owned a business for a long time, knew the ins and outs of retail. And then she also knew that business is needed to make a profit and how you can get those things – sustainability and profitability – to work together. With sustainability, it’s huge – it’s everything from the solar panels that are on the roof at Bay Hay – to how much we pay our employees. We’ve been at minimum wage of $12 – that’s starting wage, anybody that comes in always gets $12, and we’re working towards $15 and we’ll see if we get there in a short time. But you have to make profit – and that’s what we’re doing, we’re tightening things up, we’re actually getting closer and closer to giving raises to get it up to a living wage. There are employees here 25 years earning a lot more than that. So, there are many aspects to it. The store’s always been organic – so that wasn’t necessary – but mainly on the employee side – being more sensitive to the employees – changing schedules so employees can deal with their family life at home – and not being so cut and dried as I probably was by myself making those decisions. So I found somebody to bridge that gap. And it’s worked out really, really well for the store. I think we’ve grown a lot more than I probably would have just doing it on my own.

JG: So what would you say has been your greatest challenge in trying to practice sustainability as a business and what would you say has been your greatest success?

HB: The greatest success is through the hardest times that we just had, keeping all our employees fully employed. Just creating a strong business that really didn’t falter through those last hard years. We did really well during them. And part of that had to do with employee involvement, feeling like part of the business.

Challenge? Tough times. The success – getting over them, and growing a lot. It was sort of fun to beat it. You hear doom and gloom on the news all the time and we’re doing better than we used to do. It was sort of fun – we had a good time during that time. We employed a lot during that time – we built our new building using all local suppliers, all local builders. And creating employment for a lot of local people, getting that building up. We had good help from the city – they were very encouraging, they didn’t have much going on, they really helped us out, getting it through really quickly. They were very cooperative during that time.

JG: How much do you feel keeping local dollars in the local economy is a measure of sustainability?

HB: Oh, it’s really huge. It helps create jobs for people who want to work 10 or 15 miles from where they work. We employ 32 people and they all live around here – a lot of them live within walking distance of Bay Hay. It’s fun to watch them just walking to work in the morning. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is in a lot of places. I spent a lot of time in Europe and that’s the way it is there. A lot of people just live and work in their hometown. We’re pretty fortunate – we have a lot of people here who like to work this type of business.

JG: What role does Bay Hay & Feed want to play in our local food economy?

HB: Oh, we’re trying. We’re an infant right now, as a place for local farmers to have a consistent, steady place to sell their food products. It’s growing – we have a person that’s in charge of that from Sustainable Bainbridge – Carolyn Goodwin. She’s basically doing all the coordinating for it. It would be impossible for me to do it – you have to have a specialist – and she’s become a specialist in that field. It’s really important. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make this economy do weird things, and if you have a local food source, that helps steady it out a bit. Plus it employs a lot of people; there are a lot of farmers out there with farmer assistance, all kinds of people doing it now, that want to live at home, and have property and can do it, and to have a steady place to sell it is fantastic.

JG: What is your sense of the culture of farming and gardening on Bainbridge Island and what kind of change have you seen in that culture if any over the years?

HB: It’s hard on Bainbridge. Square foot ground is expensive. We don’t seem to have a way of getting large tracts of land protected for farming. I wish we were a little bit more like Whidbey Island where that does exist. I don’t know whether that will ever exist on Bainbridge. I think our local community needs to be expanded a little bit toward Suquamish and into parts of Poulsbo, where there is a little bit more open land. So local is, I’m going to say, within 25 miles, not within our 12 mile area. It’s difficult for the farmers. They just don’t have the infrastructure for farming and you need it. You can probably get an outlet to sell it – between myself, between Thriftway – the restaurants, and the farmers’ market – they can probably consume everything that everybody can grow. But, could they grow enough to make a living, or a good living? That’s questionable. Farming’s difficult. And its really good until the year it’s bad. And you’ve got to have enough reserves for a good buffer. I think most of the farmers are probably not at that level right now, where they can take the ups and downs of farming. We had a really late frost – that’s going to put a lot of people in a world of hurt. But it’s doable. It would be nice if either the Land Trust or the city provided more land or if there were tax incentives to put your land into permanent farming properties like they’ve done in other counties.

JG: Do you see the potential for us being a more locally dependent food economy, or do you see barriers in the way of that manifesting itself, for example you talk about a Whidbey Island?

HB: I think the biggest barrier on Bainbridge Island is the land is just too valuable. Somebody’s going to have to decide they don’t want to pull that value out of their property, and designate it to something else. That’s not happening a lot, not enough. There needs to be a balance between the population size and the amount of farms on the island and I don’t think that’s been established or probably ever will be. People want the value out of their land when they go to sell it and it forces it down to basically building a house and living there, as opposed to farming it. It’s a shame, but that’s what happens in communities like this.

JG: On the other side of the food chain, what has starting a local food market taught you about our local food culture on Bainbridge Island? The consumer side as opposed to the farming side?

HB: I think it’s a lot like every place else. There are people who are really, really concerned about what they put into their bodies, and other people that would like to be, and other people that can’t afford to be. Coming from the natural foods business, it was sort of the same – I was in Durham, New Hampshire at the time – similar population to here, and I think it would be nice to be able to get the prices of Bainbridge food a little bit more in line so that more of the population was able to comfortably come in and not think of it as a special thing. Thriftway is doing it – it’s getting the prices down a little bit, but it’s buying from sources further away. So it’s taking away from the locals producing the food. The locals are still having a difficult time getting to the level where it’s considered competitive to the rest of the Seattle area. They’ll get there – it just takes time. Sometimes it takes a long time. They’ve got great support people purchasing pretty much everything they’re producing, so as they become more business like, more experienced, they might be able to get down to the more competitive, which in turn would lower the cost, which in turn would lower the volume.

JG: Do you have a sense of how people perceive the locally grown goods that you sell? Do they see them as more of a luxury, or more of a norm? What trends have you seen?

HB: I don’t want to speculate. I don’t have enough information to say that. What you’re saying is a common feeling. You have to work at it. Volume is way up. Part of it is that we have no more to sell. We’re more established. Farmers like consistency – they like to hand over their products and at the end of the month, get a check and they know it’s coming. That’s really important to them. Customers like consistency – they want to see stuff all the time. It doesn’t take much of a customer coming in once or twice, not having it, that you lose a customer. So that’s our end, keeping consistency up. Keeping the shelves stocked. It’s a lot of work. It’s profitable, barely. We don’t do it for a profit center at Bay Hay. It’s basically trying to support the local economy as best as we possibly can and in turn long term we will probably make a profit from it. Right now, margins are really low – the lowest in the store – and that’s part of being food perishable. But we’re finding some value added products that really help boost it up a little bit, and to find locally produced, value added products, is difficult too, such as local crumpets – they’re fantastic. Not that you make a lot of money on it, but you get return customers – that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for commodities. When customers come in continually for commodities, they’ll purchase other things. And that’s an important thing in a retail store is to have commodities so that you’re creating a relationship with your customers, and they’re in the habit of coming back to your store. We hopefully do that throughout the store, and food is a great way to do that.

JG: Maybe the only place they can get that item, right?

HB: There are other places that sell similar products to us, and the one thing we have to offer is that there are a lot of places that may sell similar products, and don’t sell anything else. But customers shopping for something may want to come here, because they like the other things that they see. So it works hand in hand.

JG: What do you make of the popularity of backyard chickens on Bainbridge Island and what role do you feel Bay Hay has played in that popularity?

HB: Chickens are great. If you don’t go nuts and “overchicken,” then you’re going to enjoy your chickens a lot. Producing enough chickens for yourself and possibly your neighbor is a great experience. Chickens are soothing, great learning experience for kids, responsibility, you don’t even have to go as far as 4H, you can just enjoy them in your backyard. Teaching someone to take care of chickens – it’s just a wonderful thing. What do we do? We teach basic classes in “chickening.” Trying to keep people to a reasonable amount. We do a have a few large flocks on Bainbridge. Pretty much its reasonable. There are a lot of benefits from chickens. They’re friendly, they keep you company, they produce great food, they’re great composters, they’re just a really great thing to have in your backyard. They make a backyard a real backyard. People just love them. I love them.

JG: Do you keep your own chickens?

HB: Yeah, I do.

JG: Do you keep other animals?

HB: No, no more. Dog’s gone…

JG: You’re too busy feeding everyone else’s.

HB: It’s a commitment. All animals are a commitment. Whether or not it’s a dog, a cat, a chicken or cow, anything. It ties you down. That’s one of the things about chickening that we talk about. Do you ever go on vacation? How are you going to deal with this? Tell people about the good parts and the bad parts. I’ve raised sheep before, I’ve raised cows before, pigs, chickens. I love it.

JG: EduCulture has been deeply appreciative of the hundreds of seed packets we receive each year from you and which we redistribute to our school partners for use in classrooms, school gardens, and instructional garden projects. What prompted you to begin making these donations and what are you hoping will come from their use?

HB: We’ve had seeds in the store for probably 25 years. When you have leftover seeds you’ve got to figure out what to do with them. You can throw them in the dumpster, that’s a waste. We spent a lot of time sending them overseas. It’s a lot of work, and who is it benefitting? Then we found EduCulture, and it doesn’t kill my market, doesn’t kill Town and Country’s market, doesn’t kill Junko’s market – it’s sort of a balance there. We have a great product to give them. It’s more sustainable that way. Plus, instead of locking yourself into growing a certain kind of corn, a certain kind of beans, most of the time the varieties we’re giving are great varieties, which get people turned on to different things, so they’re not eating the same thing time and time again. It works really well that way. It’s another educational thing. You know, a squash doesn’t always look like a zucchini.

JG: We would have never considered raising watermelon down at our educational plot had we not had those seeds to experiment with.

HB: And it is experimenting, on all sides.

JG: In the bigger picture, where would you like to see our local food and farm economy in 5-10 years?

HB: If Bay Hay has its way and I look into the future, I’d like to have a full market here for local economy food. To expand from where we are to where we could be. We could be a small grocery store. It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to involve a couple of decisions. When we expand, how far are we going to consider local? That’s the first thing. Are we going to consider all the way to Pt. Townsend or Sequim local? And that’s something we discuss every year. We’d love to produce within 25 miles. I don’t know if it’s possible. But we continually work at it. Since it’s not the profit center of Bay Hay, it can only demand so much growth and influx, of other dollars. It will never be a profit center. It does really well being supported by something else at Bay Hay. It’s a really good way to do it and it’s fine, as long as you have a willing owner that’s willing to go that route and that’s something that with our sustainability director, we’re doing, and going to continue to do. Whether or not we’ll grow, we hope so, and we think so. We think we’ll be ready for expansion pretty soon. The word has gotten to me that we need another freezer. So I don’t think its because we’re not selling stuff, its because we are selling stuff, which is great. It’s the allocation of money to get the stuff. And since it comes out of the store’s pocket, it has to be doled out amongst the whole store, and best as we possibly can. I want to grow the business. I want farmers to grow more and me to be able to sell more, sort of parallel.

JG: What do you feel are some of the most important lessons young people need to learn about food and farming in the 21st Century?

HB: There’s got to be somebody that’s out there doing it in competition with corporate agriculture – it’s really important. We can’t depend on corporate agriculture to support us 100%. I don’t think we’ll ever get to 20-80; it’ll never get to 90-10. But you’d better keep it in the minds of all people that food – local food – is really important. You don’t want to be controlled by big corporate conglomerates deciding what you’re going to eat, when you’re going to eat it, down to the GMO kernel. You don’t want that as your only choice, and we have to keep working at that. You actually change corporate sometimes – they see the demand, and they respond to the demand. There’s a lot more organic food on the market now than there ever was in 1976 when I had my natural food store. It was extremely hard to find then. It’s out there now, and more people are using natural foods, and the prices have gotten a lot better. And that’s by popular demand. More popular demand, more people will get into it.

JG: Given what you just said, looking into the future, do you see that we are going to be part of one large food economy that has a corporate and local dimension to it, and do you see what you’re doing with others as establishing a separate food economy in competition with a global food economy?

HB: We’ll never be in competition with them; they beat us hands down.

JG: Or, in parallel to…this is about creating separate food economies or under the umbrella of one food economy?

HB: We’re going to be completely separate. I don’t think we’ll ever be parallel to anything they do. They’re way too big and way too far ahead of us. We can make inroads but to get to any sort of parallel anything, might be really difficult. Unless there’s a huge change in the world. Unless some grasshopper decides it loves GMO corn and that’s all it’s going to eat. Then we might make faster inroads.

JG: You mentioned that you could see yourself in 10-15 years having a full local market. So, that’s in essence helping to create a dominant local food economy as either an alternative version of the global economy or one that can stand on its own.

HB: I don’t know that it can ever stand on its own without support. There are some great close-to-local economies – the Pt. Townsend Co-op, the Mt. Vernon Co-op – these are great businesses run really well. Look at their product lines – it’s not all local. They’ve got nonlocal products supporting their local, and it’s a pretty good balance. If you can consider stuff like Newman’s as totally nonlocal and more corporate, they’re involved there. But they also have toilet paper, toothpaste, all the things that actually support the food market. And that’s what Bay Hay does – it supports the food market. For it to stand alone on it’s own, it’s going to be tough.

JG: So your model is having a support network that surrounds the food market with this idea that it couldn’t necessarily stand on its own but this is what retail needs to do to support having that local economy?

HB: Absolutely – it’s having an owner, like myself, or at Thriftway, that believes in it – it’s really important to have people like that out there. But they have to have successful businesses to be able to believe in it and support it. And they do a great job. They’re always one step ahead. Which is great competition and great for the community. We’re continually looking at other places saying, “wow, how can I get to that level?” Now you come into Bay Hay and you buy a pair of Merrill shoes or you buy a pair of Levis, you’re not just buying a pair of Levis, you’re also supporting a local farmer through the back door.


An Interview with Historian Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward photo

To meet Mary Woodward is to meet history in motion. In the present, she thrives on capturing the past, so that we can carry it into the future. Her head is full of historical facts, family trees, and stories that define the heritage of the community where she was born and raised. A rural Island community in the Puget Sound thrust into national and global prominence when WWII was brought to American shores. As an educator, historian and author, Mary is always eager to learn more so that she can add to our collective public memory of Bainbridge Island.

Born during the aftermath of WWII, Mary was raised amongst a complicit silence about the war and Japanese American Exclusion that overtook Bainbridge Island and much of the country for the four decades that followed. However, as the daughter of Walt and Milly Woodward, the owners and editors of the Bainbridge Review during the tumultuous years surrounding WWII, Mary grew up aware and curious to know more.

The Bainbridge Review stood out during WWII as the only newspaper in the country to offer a voice and place on the pages for their Japanese American neighbors. The Woodwards helped to maintain an inclusive sense of community for Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island while they were in concentration camps that made them feel they had a home to return to after the war.

It can be challenging to follow in the shoes of iconic parents who are revered as champions of civil liberties. Mary Woodward has made a path in life that is her own, that has included honoring the legacy of her parents and becoming a prominent voice on the history and politics of the Exclusion. In 2008, she authored the book, In Defense of our Neighbors: The Walt and Milly Woodward Story, which is the most authoritative and complete history of Bainbridge Island surrounding WWII and exclusion.


Mary W. book

Mary maintains an active presence in her community. She serves as President of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, and was dedicated to the development of the Exclusion Memorial on Bainbridge Island. She represents her family at Woodward Middle School, named after her parents. Mary is also a lead advisor and presenter for EduCulture’s Only What We Can Carry Project, and has been a frequent member of our Delegations to Manzanar. Her body of work has helped to weave strong threads of continuity from original community to the present that will last long into the future. We are honored to have the opportunity to help you learn more about this community treasure.

– Jon Garfunkel

JG: What was it like growing up in the household of the family that owned and authored the Island’s only newspaper, and what do you remember about the conversations at your dinner table in the 1950’s?

MW: It was great growing up in that family. One of the reasons is this amazing community of printers and newspaper people that my folks gathered. Coffee break was delightful; John Rudolph would come downstairs from his architect’s office and other folks – my Uncle Freddy – would drop by – both of those guys had the best senses of humor, we would laugh; they all took care of us. And I got to work at the Review when I was in high school – that was kind of fun. Dinner table conversations – my folks had an interest in reading everything. So maybe mother had just read an interesting article in the Saturday Review (for example).

JG: Do you trace your current passion for our Island’s heritage and community back to those days growing up on the Island or did that evolve for you later in life?

MW: It was evolving all of the time, but I’m aware of different levels of community involvement more so than the general person might be. It was a good foundation, and then my interest in political science and history developed and merged in college.

JG: Why and when did your parents choose to buy and run the Bainbridge Review?

MW: They purchased it in 1940 – mother purchased it – my father was still working at the Seattle Times – and I think that his name is not on the masthead because of that. My father majored in pre-med but he was a newspaper person from the get-go and had been working in Juneau at the Juneau Empire, I think, and coming to Bainbridge which was my mother’s home – they knew that the newspaper there was not what it had been. They purchased it in 1940 with a couple, Claire and Babe Peters and after about a year, Babe decided he’d rather be a lawyer and earn some money and not be a newspaper person so my folks bought them out, and by 1941 it was theirs. Within a year they had said, in a front page editorial, “this is our community and we commit ourselves to you folks.”

JG: And they owned and carried the paper until…

MW: ’65 I think was when they sold it to the Averills. And my father stayed on as editor.

JG: Would the paper have looked different in 1965 or read differently in 1965 than it did in the early 40’s?

MW: Oh yes, it had changed. It was still kind of folksy, but nowhere near that “over the backyard fence” sort of chit chat. “Billy Jones is recovering from his cold and he wants to thank people for the letters…” – you know – it was just chit chat. I tell the kids now, it’s like Facebook! That’s what it is – it’s all the little details. But by 1965 it was more of a newspaper. It still had the news of the Garden Club and when the Boy Scouts met, but it was different.

JG: What do you think the Bainbridge Review’s greatest role and contribution was to the community during the WWII era?

MW: I think perhaps the greatest contribution is the communication it afforded the two communities: Manzanar and Bainbridge and later Minidoka and Bainbridge. The news from the camps was presented and it encouraged people to write letters responding to things they’d seen in reports from the camps. And it just was awareness. In most communities, once the people were gone they were gone, and people got on with the war. Some people say how terrible it was that people forgot about this, but it was out of the news and there was nobody in these other communities that was attempting to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds. But I do think the fact that Islanders in different places still embraced each other as Islanders was a big part of it. The Rabers went to Montana to see how the Koura boys were doing. They travelled to Montana, in time of war, and tire rationing, gas rationing. Just like Mr. Narte, traveling to Manzanar and Minidoka. There was a Bainbridge community that survived the war and I think it was because of the Review. Certainly their outspoken objection to the unconstitutionality of 9066 is very important. It’s like Kay (Sakai) Nakao says; “We didn’t buy furniture (at camp); we could use these fruit crates because we knew we were going to go home. I didn’t want to waste our money on that.” It was courage – “Sisu” – that’s what Tom Paski used to say to his high school athletes – it means courage in Finnish.

JG: What would you say distinguished the Review from other newspapers in the Pacific Northwest during WWII?

MW: It was a conscious effort to present both sides of the issue. They wanted the Islanders to know what was being discussed elsewhere. Of course, Islanders were reading the Seattle PI and Seattle Times – they knew what people were saying, and like in Everett – “Scoop” Jackson was their new representative to Washington, D.C. , Henry M. Jackson. He actively worked with the Everett Herald to “get the Japs out” and they didn’t want them back. So here we have a leading politician and the newspaper – what else – are you going to stand up and be the lone voice against that? They made it very difficult, the political and newspaper element – made it very easy for people to not speak up. And I think on the Island to a certain degree they made it a little harder for people who wanted them removed to speak up, so they used intimidation in the other direction.

JG: Did your parents ever articulate to you that they felt like lone voices as a newspaper in our region at the time?

MW: No. They talked about it openly. Ken Myers was the insurance agent that said to his parent company, “I’m going to sell, even though you’re telling me not to. I’m going to sell to these (Japanese American) Islanders, and if you want to fire me you can,” and of course, they didn’t fire him. And he issued insurance. But he was a very good friend of my parents and they would be over for dinner, and the whole quote about, “if it can happen to these Americans it could happen to red-haired Americans, or teacher Americans…” that’s Ken Meyers, that’s not my father, although he very successfully incorporated that into his repertoire! We heard about it in anecdotes from the people who lived it. Not so much Japanese because my parents did not live near a Japanese family and they were working 24 hours a day like the farmers were. They knew Johnny and Pauline Nakata because mother shopped at Eagle Harbor Market.

JG: But as newspaper editors, compared to other newspapers in the region, did they realize that they were presenting a story differently, and in that case lone voices?

MW: I think so, but I don’t think they labeled it that way. One of the most fascinating things, and I wish more people were aware of it, is the ‘about face,’ the manufactured fear that occurred between December 7, 1941 and Feb 19, 1942. In December, newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle agreed with my parents, saying the same thing my folks were saying, “You know, these are our neighbors, let’s be reasonable.” By February, they were supporting the Exclusion. Within two months they had changed their opinion; this is a major national newspaper, that’s remarkable. When you talk about manufactured fear, it’s right there folks, just read about it.

JG: Tell us about the lessons and values that you learned from your mother.

MW: That it is important to respect individuals. That it doesn’t matter what they look like. That real commitment requires follow through, you need to complete what you start. She taught me to love gardens, and to bury dogfish, and kelp is always good too. She was one of the strongest women I’ve known. In so many ways she reminds me of Mrs. Sakuma and Mrs. (Sa) Nakata. They were quiet and didn’t attract attention, they didn’t want attention, but they did for their community. And mother is responsible – with a handful of others – for the creation of Kitsap County’s Regional Library, and then for the construction of our library. In the 40’s she had also campaigned to cover the wells. There were lots of wells around Bainbridge and they wanted to prevent a tragedy. And so she campaigned for that. But sexism, and the way that society has changed – she would be more recognized today.

JG: Tell us about the lessons and values you learned from your father.

MW: He taught me how to be a boater – to love boating, to love the seashore. We had wonderful vacations. He also taught me that once you start something, you need to complete it – if you are committed to doing something you need to follow through on it. He taught me the importance of planning things out and being prepared with your tools before you start a project – which I never do but I know I should. My father had everything laid out…the value of organizing your thoughts and speaking clearly, using words that really do express what you are thinking. He taught me the importance of words. How valuable the impact of words is, how it can sway people one way or the other.

JG: When did you start to catch the historian bug about Bainbridge Island and our legacy with WWII?

MW: In college – Dr. Edwards, American History. My senior thesis was on the west coast newspaper reaction to the exclusion. So that’s where it really started, when I tried to get those thoughts together.

JG: What led you to research and write In Defense of Our Neighbors; the Walt and Milly Woodward Story?

MW: Joan Piper, who was then the executive director of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, worked at it for probably 3 years. “Mary, this is an important story, we need to hear it, and you are the one who has to write it.” So, she finally won. But it was daunting, thinking about writing a book. You have to be spare in choosing your words, you can’t just throw in all the adjectives, you want to find the one noun that says it. I loved that process once I got into it.

JG: What were some of your greatest surprises or “aha’s” about our Island’s history, heritage, and community, that you uncovered while writing the book that you were not quite aware of previously?

MW: I think I became more aware that there were so many others who were ready to step up and help their neighbor – they didn’t think about it; like Mrs. Norman, and Shigeko Kitamoto; she was her beautiful, tall friend. And she says in (the documentary) “Visible Target”: “I didn’t know how to help my friend. I didn’t know what to do.” There were people like that all over the Island. I’ve said I don’t think my parents changed minds. I don’t think somebody reading the Review went, “Oh my gosh, I hadn’t thought of that!” But they made it ok to talk about it so people made up their own minds.

JG: What do you think your parents would think of Bainbridge Island today?

MW: Well, you know I’ve often thought of that. Oh my gosh, the changes since the 1980’s. But my Mother was born in 1909. She went from total dirt roads and how many different schools, to one high school, and paved roads, and then T&C, which must have been huge for her going from Eagle Harbor Market, which was this lovely, small grocery. She experienced almost a century of changes on Bainbridge.

JG: What elements of community have you experienced on Bainbridge that you feel have a continuum that has carried on through today? Aspects, values, of community?

MW: I think the one that strikes me most is that it was impossible to be anonymous growing up on Bainbridge, because the adults either knew you, or they knew your parents – it wasn’t intentional, but we didn’t go into Vern’s drugs and steal because Linda Amdahl’s mother worked there. We didn’t want to disappoint her. Mr. Beemer in the hardware store would take a kid back – “I know your parents, next time you do this, I’m going to call them up…” he would really read them the riot act. People cared about the kids in the community and they knew them. Today, it’s impossible to know all of the kids, but I see so many, just like the water polo program – that have developed a whole community of adults who know them and care about them. And those kids know it. There are some kids who don’t have that connection and it is possible for them to be anonymous. But that is something that has carried through, I think that’s an element – Bainbridge cares about its kids and always has and we demonstrate it in a different way and we’re dealing with a larger population of kids. I still see that as significant.

JG: What do you think your parents would make of how our Island community is embracing the legacy of WWII and Japanese American Exclusion in 2015?

MW: They would be over the moon for so many reasons; certainly for the recognition of the unconstitutionality of 9066. That was the reason they objected to it. They did not object to it because these nice people were being rounded up and sent away. It’s that it was unconstitutional, and it’s not ambiguous at all. It’s hard to read the three principal elements of the constitution that were violated by 9066. It’s difficult to read the simple sentences that describe that and wonder, ‘how could someone be confused by this? How could it not be clear?’ Somehow the President on down, they figured out ways to say it was ok.

JG: What does it mean to you to have a Woodward Middle School on Bainbridge Island?

MW: Well, I used to never say it – it was always the Middle School, for about 5 years. I couldn’t say it – it seemed so weird. It’s wonderful. And we are going to start working with a more concentrated effort to tie the Woodward story to Woodward Middle School the way they have done so beautifully at Sakai.

JG: How does it feel to be serving as president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community?

MW: Well, it’s quite an honor. I remember when Frank Kitamoto nominated me for vice president. That was the honor, that Frank nominated me. I thought, of course, an occasional meeting – I can do that. And then the situation changed. We’re branching out a little, trying to work more with the multicultural committee from the schools, we want to see if we can get, once a year, a speaker who might talk to small groups or larger groups. It was wonderful to support what BPA and David Guterson did, it was a wonderful experience, with Snow Falling on Cedars. That was an honor. There are times when I think I should probably research a little more how others feel about this. I’m delighted to do it but I don’t want to offend, particularly the elders.

JG: What has it been like filling the shoes of Frank Kitamoto?

MW: Impossible – I don’t try to do that. We’re just going forward, using him always as our touchstone, our inspiration.

JG: What do civil liberties mean to you in the year 2015?

MW: Civil liberties are the rights we have under the government, the rights that are protected by the constitution.

JG: So when you think about the civil liberties your parents stood up for during WWII, what do civil liberties look like today in your eyes?

MW: Pretty much the same, it just depends on who the marginalized group is. The reason that we now have an apology from a President of the United States for an action by the United States government – which I think is unique, that the government actually apologized – the reason that we have the apology is that within 40 years, this marginalized group that had no money, and no political supporters, by 1980 had a lot of money, and Patsy Mink and Daniel Inouye, and others were holding high political office. Now if the Mexicans coming can accomplish that in 40 years they’ll be the same. But it’s money. Arab Americans and people coming from Mexico are being treated the same way we treated the Japanese – they are being marginalized.

JG: What has it been like to work with so many students from Bainbridge Island and around the Puget Sound who are studying WWII and Japanese American Exclusion?

MW: It’s been wonderful. It’s been fun, and challenging. Teachers like Bill Covert and his class who came in prepared, they knew what their assignment was – we just helped them find the research, and that was encouraging to me as a teacher. We’ve had kids come from Texas, and Colorado, so it’s not just Bainbridge.

JG: What do you think makes Bainbridge Island such a meaningful landscape and setting for telling this particular story?

MW: One thing that it does highlight – a pioneer group has a specific area where they live and to those outside they become “the other” – their dress is weird and they talk funny and they eat strange food. On Bainbridge, what happened in the 20’s – the big mill closed and people had to find work. Yama, which was the Japanese enclave at the mill – didn’t move someplace else, so there was no Japantown. They had neighbors who were Finnish, or Croatian, and in most instances, I think that’s what created the whole interweaving of support and real friendship. And one thing Tom Ikeda of Densho has said is there were similar situations between Filipino farmers who had come later working for the Japanese farmers. But he has not seen in other communities the friendships between the Filipino farmhands and their employers, so that’s different on Bainbridge. To me that’s really remarkable. That shows so clearly that once you get to know somebody, it doesn’t matter what they look like. “Riceballs – oh yeah, my daughter brought one of those home when she was visiting – those are really good.” You have to assimilate – once your kids start playing together – that’s the beginning of the end for racists.

JG: What has it been like for you to be part of OWWCC’s delegations to Manzanar?

MW: It has been wonderful – such a privilege. Personally, I am amazed at how affected I am every year I have the opportunity to visit either Minidoka or Manzanar. I thought the first time I got off the bus at Minidoka and burst into tears – “Ok that’s important, now we’ve done that,”; but it’s the same every time. The sacredness of the camps, the joy we found in locating block 3 at Manzanar – I can’t express how joyous that was. And to listen to Kay Nakao and Lilly and Frank Kitamoto talking about where their doors were in relation to each other – it was just mind blowing. Wow, they’re talking about where their cells were in relation to each other. It was remarkable. And the opportunity to talk with educators and see their excitement at uncovering things. We’ve had a couple times where actually things were discovered that the Rangers didn’t know were there, and these were teachers. Can you imagine the inspiration that that brings into the classroom? It‘s a wonderful group of people all the way around, every time. Just to get to know Alisa and all the knowledge she has about interpretation and we can use her skills in putting together our interpretation at the memorial wall, on so many grounds, it’s a wonderful experience.

JG: Where do you see the impact of OWWCC in schools and communities on Bainbridge Island and beyond?

MW: The ripples in a pond…it’s just going to keep growing. I see kids now, 8th graders, who say, “oh, at Sakai we learned…”, “I know you from Sakai…” We’re building this, we keep building. It’s becoming commonplace to know about the exclusion on Bainbridge. It wasn’t taught when I was in school. None of my classmates knew about it, including people whose parents hadn’t  talked with their kids. So, it’s like night and day.

JG: What was it like to witness that transitional time between when no one talked about it and then they began to?

MW: It’s been interesting, and within the BIJAC community. Many Nisei in particular, say “don’t want to make waves…we want to be good citizens…” But now, for example, the Memorial – people see their name, their relatives have come and been to the wall. They see what an impact it has on people, whether they know anything about it or not. Whether they know all about their family and they can find their Auntie on the wall, to those who know nothing about it, they learn a bit.

JG: What do you think Bainbridge Island as a community has learned over the past 70 years since WWII and Japanese exclusion that we need to carry into the next 70 years?

MW: I hope we have internalized it. We certainly have learned a lot of the facts. We will see in the future if we really carry the principles of justice and civil rights. I think (the recent production of) Snow Falling on Cedars showed us that we are curious, and want to know more, and we have begun to talk about it as a community. I saw the enthusiasm – you had these little groups that came to the library, and the bookstore; it was delightful, because there were folks I’d known forever, and then there were new folks. Talking about it is good, and I think we are beginning to learn that. So maybe we will be more willing in the future to tackle a difficult issue like this. I think we have learned that it’s important to include in discussions the whole Island, to not pick and choose. I think we need to have it open to whomever wants to show up, include their information and their questions. So in essence I think that we are more willing to discuss it as a community.

JG: It’s not one group’s stories – it’s all of our stories.

MW: Right, I think we’re recognizing that. At the time, in 1942, the whole Island had vegetable gardens – it was a poor community. Although there were many, many rich people who lived at the end of very long driveways. And they were delightful people and they contributed to the community, and it was more homogeneous than it is now. We do have people who hide behind gates, and economics have gotten in the way. We don’t have too many jobs on this Island. It used to be that everybody worked on the Island except for the few who worked in Seattle. And now everybody goes to work there. So in that sense we’re getting farther away from everybody joining in on one thing. We learned we need to discuss things and I think people are more willing to do that. I think we’ve learned that the contributions from not only the adults are important. We’ve recognized that kids have a lot to offer to any topic, but certainly to this. In many ways, the kids are leading the Island in understanding.

JG: What are the stories that you hope that we as a community are still telling 70 years from now about the experience of WWII and the legacy of Japanese American exclusion?

MW: A major story that I hope we are telling is that it was not just Milly and Walt Woodward who are these iconic newspaper publishers, but it was Bainbridge Island. They made it possible for us to join together. They didn’t create that. There are so many other people, the list can go on…the Bucklins…Bucklin Hill…they stored the Sakai’s rugs. The Hydes took care of the Nishimori’s dishes. Little things like that, but it was all over the Island, it was not just Milly and Walt, it was everybody. And, the same coming home. Johnny Nakata did call and speak with mother, and say, “should we come home? I’ve got boys. What’s going to happen to them?” And my Mother responded, with, as my father would have; “Yes, you need to come home.” And they did. People had gotten to know one another, and whether or not they look different, that’s your neighbor, and you get to know your neighbor. That’s a really important one that talks to so many things. That talks to the importance of words – my folks did not refer to the Japanese community as “Japs.” My folks tried to use the words that they felt would say what they needed to say. Japanese is a really long word to have in a headline, Jap is much more concise, but it doesn’t serve it well. The power of words – I hope that is something we’re still talking about. And the symbolism of locking up people because they might be a threat. How dangerous is that? To say, “you’re going to lose your citizenship if you go back to Japan.” That’s scary. How do you lose your citizenship unless you renounce it? You can’t do that. They’re talking about doing that in Arizona. To children, native born, whose parents are not citizens. Taking away their citizenship. I hope we’ve learned that lesson. I hope that we’ve learned that there can be dissention within a community and the community can heal from that. We’re taking steps in that direction and its really encouraging because Islanders are Islanders and we don’t want to shut out any Islander from a discussion. And I think we might be closer to that.


Exclusion Tag Project

A student adds his completed Exclusion Tag to the display outside BPA following the Snow Falling on Cedars special school matinee performance.

A student adds his completed Exclusion Tag to the display outside BPA following the Snow Falling on Cedars special school matinee performance.

The Exclusion Tag Project was created as part of the community conversation surrounding Bainbridge Performing Arts’ production of David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars. Audience members – middle school and high school students as well as adults – were invited to share how the experience of exclusion relates to their own life, by recording their answers on a tag that is very similar to those that were issued to Japanese Americans during the exclusion experience of WWII.

A middle school teacher and student add their tags to the display.

A Sakai Intermediate School teacher and student add their tags to the display.

Completed tags with the recorded comments were on display in the BPA lobby throughout the run of Snow Falling on Cedars, and subsequently at Waterfront Park Community Center. They will be archived at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum as the “2015 Exclusion Tag Community Project.”

The following are examples of comments recorded on the tags, by both students and adults. Although the author’s names were voluntarily included on many of the tags, we have chosen to publish them anonymously.

“My beloved grandparents, Bella and Willie, survived the Holocaust. They were Polish Jews who were forced to abandon family and flee to Russia and ‘Middle Asia’ (as they always called it) for the years of the war from 1939 on. They lost family and had to wander through Europe working their way to the U.S. in 1951 to start anew. They never wished for anyone to have such an experience ever again.”

“People of color being pulled off a train I travelled for several months in 2002 from Ontario to NY State when we crossed from Canada to U.S.”

“During WWII, Japan also bombed the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. My father’s family members were Aleutians and the U.S. Government thought, as they looked Asian, they might be sympathetic. Aleutians were moved to an internment camp in Adak Island. My father was born there. In the late ‘80’s, the U.S. government paid the interned Aleutians $10,000 for loss of homes and livelihood.”

“I see the media’s impact on our society’s view of Muslims given the events in the Middle East. And I feel my own exclusion targeted toward those who are intolerant.”

“Being vegan and an atheist, people often tease and make fun of my beliefs and way of life. Most people whom I’ve talked about being vegan with show prejudice (a lot) toward me and my family. It’s interesting because people don’t make fun of Christians (usually) but they do of me.”

“My mother was incarcerated during the Japanese American Exclusion. I fear how quickly we seem to forget the injustice on a family, community, regional, national and global level.”

“I have had moments where some of my family members have faced racial intolerance.”

“The time I remember I was excluded was when I was in the 1st grade and we were doing a class activity and I was extremely shy. No one talked to me and if they did, they would tease me. I made only one best friend.”

“I have felt excluded during school from the “popular group.” I have also felt excluded by my older brother and his friends.”

“Two of my uncles, both German immigrants, were interned, one at Fort Lincoln, Bismark, ND, the other with his family (pregnant wife and 3 children) at Crystal City, TX. A book, The Train to Crystal City, is based on interviews with my cousin.”

“My son was bullied because he was different – other children were intolerant of his differences and made fun of him. This bullying only makes him feel ashamed and angry which affects community – by causing a citizen to be less effective and tolerant of others.”

“As a child growing up in Missoula, MT, I was surrounded and aware of many American Indians. I saw the film “Little Big Man” and became ashamed of what white people did to the American Indians. I wanted to be Indian, not white, so I dressed as a Lakota Sioux, in 7th grade. I was ridiculed for dressing that way until I gave up and quit dressing like an Indian.”

“I am hated by many. I am only good at one thing, music. I am excluded from many groups of people.”

“My parents were sent to the Heart Mountain, WY Internment Camp. They returned to California with perseverance and resolve. From them, I learned that life may not be fair, but people can be. Your conscience tells you when something isn’t fair. Speak up against injustice – be the voice for the voiceless. Make Walt and Millie proud!”

“I went over to my friend’s at age 8 and everyone was on a trampoline. I asked if I could join them. They told me they hated me and to go home.”

“I won’t forget the potential for injustice that arises from fear. This memorial will help me and others to learn acceptance and generosity, no matter how tempting it is to be afraid and selfish.”

“Intolerance that I’ve felt during my life – the fact that people don’t like people who don’t fit into society. Such as the smart, quiet people who are always the target of general society because they aren’t physically able or just don’t like conversing, are cast out from others.”

“My small concerns and worries are nothing, a little spilled water or a smudge on furniture, fixed instantly. I hope I learn the lessons of patience, endurance, resiliency.”

“We are surrounded still by exclusion and intolerance. It plays out nationally and locally. We are immersed in examples. Plays, art, events like this help us see. Thank you.”
















TOPS Student’s Poem Inspired by OWWCC Visit

EduCulture's Jon Garfunkel takes TOPS 8th graders from Seattle on a tour of Historic Suyematsu Farm as part of our Only What We Can Carry (OWWCC) heritage education program.

Spring 2015; EduCulture’s Jon Garfunkel takes TOPS 8th graders from Seattle on a tour of Historic Suyematsu Farm as part of our Only What We Can Carry (OWWCC) heritage education program.

Seattle 8th grade TOPS student Ada Rosen was inspired to write this poem after her visit to   Bainbridge Island on April 29, 2015 to learn more about Japanese American Exclusion during WWII. The students from The Options Program at Seward made their annual visit to Bainbridge Island in April. As part of the OWWCC heritage education program conducted jointly through Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and EduCulture, students toured Historic Suyematsu Farm, had the opportunity to have lunch and talk with elders who had experienced exclusion, viewed the documentary Visible Target, and visited the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. Thank you to Ada for generously sharing her poem.

American Dream (Incarceration)

by Ada Rosen

Thousands of feet step onto new land
Stoic faces hiding broken hearts
Can’t go home, can’t cry out, can’t fight back
Won’t fight back


Can you imagine fitting your home in a handbag?
What do you pack for a destination unknown?
These kids have never even been off the island
Isn’t camp supposed to be fun?


 We all came here to live the American dream
For some of us it’s easier
Those who can fit in don’t get singled out
It’s easy to live freely when you are white


At the camps they sleep in animal stalls
What does that say about their humanity?
Every day they line up for their meals
Then once again to get sick in the restrooms


 Theresa never got to meet her little brother
The first time she saw him was the day of his funeral
You’re lucky if your parents have a good job
And can afford to buy you postcards


Suicides in the river are a regular occurrence
The only way you can control your life is by taking it
Maybe you can catch a glimpse of freedom through the barbed wire
And the kids still think they are on vacation


Then it’s over
Uprooted again in the name of release
Staying in camp might be better than facing the real world
Is my family supposed to live off twenty five dollars?


It was better to bury the past
But I’m glad we’re talking about it now
Those who fail to learn from history
Are doomed to repeat it
Repeat it
Repeat it

students and elders