Feature: LEE Graduate Niallah Cooper-Scruggs

2019 LEE Graduate Niallah Cooper-Scruggs

Learning Through Cupcakes: Baker Hopes to Spread Kitchen Knowledge

MAY 27, 2020, SEATTLE

BY JASPER NIGHTHAWK, Common Thread, Antioch University Seattle News

“I think I’ve always just loved making cupcakes for people,” says Niallah Cooper-Scruggs, a graduate student at Antioch University Seattle. This love began the day her mom taught her how to make her first batch, topped with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting that was just right – not too runny, just stiff enough. She perfected this in high school when she made it her tradition to bring cupcakes in for friends’ birthdays. As an adult, she kept making them, and this love deepened. “They’re cool little bite treats that can be full of tons of flavor,” she says, and she came to “love using the local ingredients here in the Pacific Northwest.” So it was natural that when, in the fall of 2018, Cooper-Scruggs decided to stop working in professional kitchens and open her own bakery, she decided to focus her menu around this simple delight – the cupcake.

Keeping things relatively simple was smart because – in addition to opening her first business – she had recently begun studying for a Masters of Education program at Antioch Seattle. “It was actually kind of hard,” she says. “I was constantly juggling baking during the nighttime, and then I would have class during the day.”

She thought business would be slow at first, but her cupcakes were quickly a hit. Working out of a shared industrial kitchen belonging to a senior center, she developed distinctive offerings. There was the Gold Digga, a chocolate cupcake soaked in Irish cream with salted caramel frosting. The Queen Bee topped a lemonade cupcake with lavender-rosemary lemon curd. Experimentation showed that seasonal flavors were big sellers, so Cooper-Scruggs found local sources for pumpkin, apples, pineapple, sage, and mint.

As she became an empowered part of the Seattle food world – exploring shared kitchens, local farms, coffee shops, and farmer’s markets – it tied directly into her studies. When she chose to study at Antioch, Cooper-Scruggs had been excited for its Leadership in Edible Education certificate program. And it was through this program that her two worlds came together. Every week around a table laden with delicious food, she and her classmates “discussed things like food systems and problems within our food system today, we talked about food in schools and how there need to be changes in nutrition and food education in general.”

These conversations tied in with field trips, and sometimes the topics would mirror the decisions she was having to make with her bakery. “It was amazing. We went to farmer’s markets, we went to grocery stores, we would ask each other which was the best as far as food quality and food resources.”

Cooper-Scruggs made the choice to source most of the fresh ingredients for her cupcakes from a farm called Nurturing Roots. She had met the farm’s founder and director, Nyema Clark, at an all-women’s event some years before, and she knew she wanted to work with her if she started her own business. Now that she had started Sugar Queen, Nurturing Roots became her main purveyor for everything from apples and raspberries to carrots and lots of herbs. This made her cupcakes even better, but at the same time it served Cooper-Scruggs’s value of giving back to her community “by supporting local people-of-color owned businesses and farms.”

A Foodie Family

Cooper-Scruggs’s love of food goes back to her childhood. “We always gathered around food, we always ate together every night for dinner, so it was just a big thing for us in our family,” she says. Her mom loved cooking at home, her grandfather had been a professional cook, and her aunt owned her own restaurant. “I like to say that cooking and food was just a part of our family culture.”

As she grew older, she came to cherish those memories of gathering around her family dinner table. “You can remember those conversations and the things you all laughed about with a really great meal.” When it was time to get a job, it was natural to begin working in professional kitchens. One job had her working at a farm and resort where she taught kids how to cook and showed them different techniques. That was the first anyone suggested she might have a future as a food educator. “One of my chefs was like, ‘You’re really good at this. You should become a teacher.’ I was like, ‘Alright, okay.’ But I was [thinking], I’ll never be a teacher. This is not true.” Then at another job she ended up teaching food skills again, and she started to realize, You know what, I really like this. So it began to crystallize in her head that if she went back to school, that might be what she studied.

However, it took an unpleasant working environment to push her to the point of starting her own business and actually enrolling in graduate school. She was working in a restaurant where “They hired me on for a position and then they changed my position and then they changed it again.” That was hard, but even worse, they constantly questioned her abilities, making comments like “Are you sure you’re able to do this? Are you capable?” It was unpleasant enough that eventually it pushed her to a realization: “You know what? I’m going to do my own thing. I think it’s time for me to start my own business and try and see if I can be successful at that. And I did it also with school.”

In retrospect, she isn’t upset that she did that work, as unpleasant as it could be. “Now looking back, I see why I had to do that—just so I could learn more skills and go through all these restaurants and learn the skills so I could start my own business eventually. So I don’t regret it at all.” Making the leap into starting her own business has been, by all accounts, a wonderful experience. “Sometimes, it seems surreal that God has provided me with a business I love,” she says, “but I am constantly reminded that dreams can come true and they are possible.”

Big Plans and Uncertainty

Sugar Queen Bakery has been on hiatus since December, when Cooper-Scruggs took a sabbatical to focus on finishing graduate school. The plan was always for her to re-open the bakery after she graduates in June. She would take Sugar Queen to farmer’s markets, re-open accounts with coffee shops, and try to land more wedding cake and cupcake jobs. The dream is for Sugar Queen to eventually have its own storefront where regulars can drop by in person—and where she could have a kitchen set up just to her own specifications.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has put all of those plans on hold. Cooper-Scruggs is grateful that by chance she was already taking a break—so it didn’t force her into an unexpected closure—but it is putting serious roadblocks in the path toward re-opening. It doesn’t seem like the senior center where she was renting shared kitchen space will be in any hurry to allow outside chefs to rent space again. It’s a period of uncertainty for Sugar Queen Bakery.

In the longer-run, Cooper-Scruggs seems well-positioned to thrive and continue making an impact on her community. Getting her degree in education has made her even more passionate about sharing her love of food. “I believe that I can combine both my skills as a cook and baker, and use them to teach others how to create healthy meals and desserts,” she says. “My hope is to have Sugar Queen Bakery as my business, while using teaching to give back to the community.”


Food & Education In Times of Crisis Dialogue

Food and Education in Times of Crisis:
A Bridging Classroom & Community Dialogue

Presented by the Leadership in Edible Education Program
at Antioch University Seattle & EduCulture

Thursday, April 23, 2020, 4-5 p.m.

How do we wrestle with the paradox we are currently experiencing at the cross roads of food supply and kitchen literacy when “(O)ur food distribution networks are under siege. At the same time, food is proving stressful for people who are not used to cooking for themselves” (New York Times 3-18-20)?  How do we hold space for the constraints we are experiencing with our food system and supply while creatively addressing short and long term solutions for food and education? 

With millions of students at home, schools struggling to create an on-line learning system, and parents struggling to feed and educate their children during a time of crisis, there are significant opportunities emerging for edible education and kitchen literacy on the home front and solutions for making our local-regional food community more relevant in a time of crisis and more durable and resilient for the future. 

Join us for a virtual dialogue via Zoom hosted by Antioch University Seattle, facilitated by Leadership in Edible Education faculty & Director Jonathan Garfunkel and feature program alumni and instructors. The dialogue will address the current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our food systems. Among other topics, we will discuss the constraints to our food system and supply while also imagining creative solutions for a more durable and resilient future. Guests will include local food practitioners, helping to initiate this on-line dialogue.

This virtual event will also be an opportunity to learn about our upcoming LEE 2020-21 program cycle scheduled to begin summer quarter 2020.

ONLINE VIA ZOOM – Link and information will be sent prior to meeting date

To Register for this Free Event, visit: https://www.antioch.edu/continuing-education/course/SE%20LEE%201000_30283078/

Feature: LEE Graduate Sarah Bethell

2019 LEE Graduate Sarah Bethell

Putting Food on the Table and Fostering Connections with School Gardens


BY KAREN HAMILTON, Common Threads, Antioch University Seattle News

Sarah Bethel has moved from coast to coast. She studied environmental studies at the University of Oregon, traveled up and down the West Coast doing service projects as a part of AmeriCorps, and taught early Education in Vermont and Connecticut for three years. These days, Bethel is back on the west coast, and working towards a Masters of Education with a Leadership in Edible Education Certificate at Antioch University’s Seattle campus.

“The Edible Education Certificate is kind of like a tour,” Bethel says.  “A road map of the history of food in this county and how our food shapes our values.”

For Bethel, the transition from environmental studies to education was a smooth one, sparked by those early days when she was on the road with AmeriCorps. It was during this time that Bethel would get her first taste of edible education.

“I didn’t know much about gardening. I had a leadership position with AmeriCorps, and we went up and down the West Coast setting up school and community gardens,” she says. “I was learning and teaching kids at the same time.”

Bethel’s interest in gardening found further fuel when she took a position at a school in Vermont as a school garden coordinator in Burlington, Vermont. The program was unique, combining teaching preschool through sixth grade as well as coordinating and maintaining the school’s garden, and eventually, cooking with the yields. Bethel worked in the soil for a year before she took another position in Connecticut. Bethel took pride in the connection she had fostered between the children and food. She realized that it was something that was missing from most Americans’ relationships with the food they eat.

“We’ve been forced to move away from our deep connections to food–our connections to cooking, gardening, and our knowledge of what food does for our bodies,” she says.

Bethel finally figured out what she wanted to do, and it fell somewhere between Education and sustainability. She knew she wanted to continue to foster a connection between food and children, but Bethel also realized that jobs in the field were competitive. She would need a Master’s degree to help her stand out in the competition.

“I was feeling stuck. Everyone has a bachelor’s degree, and I wasn’t able to move forward or have access to the type of job that I wanted,” Bethel says. “I found Antioch through a colleague in Vermont, and the program’s approach to education drew me in.”

Bethel believes that when it comes to education, you get out what you put in, and she has definitely put in the time. Now on the brink of graduating with a Master’s of Educationfrom Antioch, when she looks back, Bethel is grateful for the time and work she put into Antioch’s Edible Education program.

“It prepared me for my inquiry and thesis project,” she says.

Bethel describes Antioch’s Edible Education Program as a way for teachers to take back that deep connection to food that’s been missing in education. She points to how the program explores all the different ways food can interact with education from the history of school lunch to why the food served in the cafeteria is so essential. For Bethel, Antioch’s focus on social justice and social action encouraged her to not only identify injustices but to find and apply solutions.

“It’s made me think, what can I do to make the system more just and fairer for everyone,” Bethel says.

Food is political, after all, and experts have documented disparities in the quality of food available in districts and communities. Bethel points out that there are also gaps in edible education, especially in early childhood curriculum. Inspired by the work Bethel completed in Antioch’s Edible Education program, her thesis has a heavy focus on food. Her work explores the possible solutions to close those education gaps in early education and foster deep connections to food sustainability in preschoolers.

“In my practicum for the Edible Education certificate, I found out that a lot of schools with garden education programs have gaps between gardening or growing food and cooking. I didn’t see any overlap.”

Bethel will graduate with her Master’s in June. She wants to take her experience and her Master’s degree and put everything she’s learned into practice in her own preschool classroom. The goal, of course, includes a garden.

“I don’t think I would be a complete educator without some garden component,” she says.

After graduating, Bethel plans to move once more. This time to the Midwest. She has her own roots and connections in the heartland. Wherever she goes, it’s safe to say that Bethel will foster Antioch values such as service and justice, along with growing a garden of her very own.


High School Students Engage with Living History

Bainbridge Island High School Students Learn about Japanese American Exclusion from Community Elders & BHS Alumni

May 2018

Kay Sakai Nakao, Hisa Matsudaira, and Lilly Kodama speak with 11th Grade Students

For the past three years, our Only What We Can Carry Program has been organizing a series of guest speakers for a panel discussion on Japanese American Exclusion the Bainbridge High School 11th grade American Studies classes.  These discussions are part of their unit of study of American Foreign Policy during WWII.

Bainbridge Island was ground zero for the beginning of the implementation of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which led to the detention of 120,000 Japanese Americans and immigrants living within 200 miles of the west coast of the United States.  In March 1942, close to 300 Bainbridge Islanders were forced from their homes, with only what they could carry, and sent under military escort to the Manzanar Relocation Center in Independence, CA, one of 10 concentration camps set up to intern Japanese Americans during the WWII.

Kay Sakai Nakao, age 98, sharing stories of life in Manzanar

Along with a variety of questions about life on Bainbridge Island before, during, and after WWII, and their family’s experience with exclusion, students commented to their guest speakers about how they were appreciative of to hear their voices and stories.  It is a special opportunity when students can experience living history in their own backyard, and when lived experiences can inform a more lived curriculum.  This was made even more relevant hearing from survivors and their relatives who grew up on their Island and attended their schools.

This year guest speakers included:
Donna Harui – Harui Family
Hisa Matsudaira – Hayashida Family
Lilly Kodama – Kitamoto Family
Vern Nataka -Nakata Family
Kay Sakai Nakao – Sakai & Nakao Families
Victor Takemoto – Takemoto Family

Lilly Kodama talks about being a child during WWII.

EduCulture, through our Only What We Can Carry Program, has been working with Bainbridge Island School District since 2009 to enrich and enhance school curriculum on the local Japanese American immigrant and exclusion experience.  This includes organizing delegations of Bainbridge Island Japanese American survivors of the exclusion during WWII and BISD teachers to the former Manzanar concentration camp.  In 2016, OWWCC brought three of these BHS American Studies teachers to Manzanar.  Educulture also the resident educators at Historic Suyematsu Farm and homestead on Bainbridge Island.  You can learn more about our OWWCC program work at: http://educultureproject.org/onlywhatwecancarry/

Announcing Incubator Fellowships for Emerging School & Community Leaders

Three Types of Incubator Fellowships Offered for 2018-19
Deadline for Fellowship Applications is June 8

The Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program (L.E.E.) is proud to announce edible education fellowship opportunities for emerging school and community leaders, which include sponsorship in our upcoming L.E.E. program cycle starting in July 2018.   These Incubator Fellowships are special opportunities for emerging school and community leaders already on a path of practice with school or community based edible education to incubate a project of demonstrated need that will directly serve elementary or secondary students within the Puget Sound region. Fellows will be selected based on a specific edible education project or program they seek to implement for a particular school or community in need.   The L.E.E. Certificate Program will provide the container to do the deep work and structure to fully develop and shepherd the project to the point of incubation.

Leadership in Schools Fellowship:
For those formally working within K-12 schools, with a K-12 School Based Project that furthers the role of our PNW Food Shed in a school or school districts culture of curriculum, school community, school lunch, and/or extra-curricular arena.

Leadership in Education Outreach Fellowship (sponsored by EduCulture):
For those working, or seeking to work, in community based education that serves elementary and/or secondary age students, who have a K-12 Community Based Project aimed at addressing issues of food security, citizenship, independence, justice, durability and wellness, while developing awareness, knowledge and engagement in our regional community food system.

During the first half of the L.E.E. program, Fellows will examine the paths of others practicing in this region’s school and food communities.  Through the second half of LEE program, Fellows will examine and hone their own path of practice. They will use their culminating “incubated” project and field experience to bring their project to place where it can be piloted in 2019-20.  Upon successful completion of the L.E.E. Certificate program, EduCulture will provide Fellows with continued mentorship and our non-profit organizational support to launch a pilot project for the intended setting and audience of young people from the incubated project completed.

  • These two Fellowships come with a $500 per quarter scholarship from EduCulture towards your L.E.E. tuition. Fellow will be responsible for $650 balance of full tuition ($125 per quarter), along with the cost of course texts, class materials, and transportation to and from field classes.
  • EduCulture Fellows must will agree to fully participate in all L.E.E. classes and complete all required L.E.E. course work.  As well, the focus and topic of your incubated culminating project must be agreed upon and developed in consultation with the Local Food Trust.
  • These Fellowships are only open to those enrolling through EduCulture (not available to AUS Students).


Leadership in Food Community Fellowship (Sponsored by Local Food Trust)

For those working or seeking to work in Puget Sound food community, with educational project that develops awareness, knowledge and engagement in our regional community food system, and addresses issues food security, citizenship, independence, justice durability and wellness.  As part of this Fellowship, you will also receive consultation and oversight support from the Local Food Trust team in developing and completing your L.E.E. culminating project.

  • These Fellowships come with a $2250 scholarship from Local Food Trust (divided among four quarters) towards your full L.E.E. tuition. Fellows would be responsible for $250 balance of tuition ($62.50 per quarter), along with the cost of course texts, class materials, and transportation to and from field classes.
  • If you receive and accept this L.E.E. Fellowship, you will agree to fully participate in all L.E.E. classes and complete all required L.E.E. course work. As well, the focus and topic of your culminating project must be agreed upon and developed in consultation with the Local Food Trust.
  • This Fellowship is only open to those enrolling through EduCulture (not available to AUS Students)


More information about our LEE Program can be found at: http://educultureproject.org/leadership-in-edible-education/

Deadline for Fellowship Applications is June 8. For Fellowship questions and application, contact: Jonathan Garfunkel, Garfunkel@EducultureProject.org, or call 206-780-5797


Upcoming  L.E.E. Open Houses & Public Events
A Discussion on the role of food in our paths of practice, especially the place of food in K-12 and Post Secondary Education

June 5, 6:30-8:30p, Antioch University Seattle
June 7, 6:30-8:30p, EduCulture, Bainbridge Island

Click Here to RSVP & Receive Directions

 Share food stories  Talk with Program Directors  Meet Program Graduates  Visit Field Class Sites  Learn more about this unique program  


Following the Egg at Heyday Farm

Bainbridge Island Students Follow The Egg, from Field to Fork, at Heyday Farm

In the Spring Season, Kindergarten students from Bainbridge Island School District study the life cycle of chickens as part of their Edible Education Pathway, developed and facilitated by EduCulture, in their role as Edible Education Liaison for the District.  A major field class for students is a two part learning experience that follows fresh eggs from farm to kitchen at Heyday Farm, a partner farm in the south end of Bainbridge Island.

Students start their learning experience by putting on their farmer’s hat, touring and learning about a local pastured-raised poultry operation with Farmer Brian MacWhorter and his staff.  They learn about how chickens are raised for eggs that feed a community, from where they live, what they eat, to how they behave.  We also discuss how chickens are contemporary relatives of dinosaurs and explore other science and environmental learning connections.  Our instructors help students select fresh eggs from nest boxes, which they then carry to a commercial egg washing machine at the farm’s processing facilities.

Students then bring their eggs to the Heyday Farm Kitchen where they put on their chef’s hat for a culinary experience with Chef Tad Mitsui and his staff.  At the Heyday Kitchen, students learn how to prepare their farm egg as a soufflé with fresh farm ingredients.  While their eggs creations are in the oven, student’s put on their scientist’s hat to engage in hand’s on series of compare and contrast observations between fresh, local farm eggs and store-bought eggs.  Students use all of their senses to examine color, shape, texture, and eventually taste, while exploring the connections between how and where a chicken is raised and the qualities, health and taste of their eggs.  When their soufflé’s are ready, students are guided through a tasting lesson to help them appreciate the flavor, texture and other characteristics of their creations.

These lived, field experiences inform more lived curricular connections for teachers and students.  The outdoor classrooms we have created model effective placed based teaching and learning that is supporting science, math and social studies education. Students see their community as curriculum.  Social & emotional learning is enhanced and enriched through these outdoor, field experience through interaction in natural and agricultural settings, engagement with the life cycle of live animals, and the observation of a sustainable food chain of our local community, and meeting local farmer and chefs.

Educulture has developed and facilitates a more mature version of this Follow the Egg Field Class for students in the Advanced Food Course at Bainbridge High School.

Thank you to Bainbridge Schools Foundation for funding that made it possible to develop the educational architecture to deliver these lessons for Bainbridge Island School District’s Edible Education Initiative.  Thanks to our partners at Heyday Farm, Brian MacWhorter of Butler Green Farms and Tad Mitsui of Heyday Farm Kitchen.



First Graduates of Leadership in Edible Education

Congratulations to the First Graduates
of our Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program!

Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program Graduates, Spring 2016, with LEE Co-Directors. (L-R) Ed Mikel, Angela King, Amber Williams, Stevie Long, Andrew Ely, Jon Garfunkel

Leadership in Education Certificate Program Graduates, Summer 2016, (L-R) Brian Gilbert, Barbara Bolles, Patricia Hennessy.

EduCulture is proud to announce our first graduates of Leadership in Edible Education, who completed this program in Spring and Summer 2016.  Our inaugural 2015-16 cohort attracted a diverse group of Antioch MAEd students and those working in schools, on instructional farms, non-profit organizations, in the food business.  We honor the significant accomplishment of these edible educators, who were the first to complete this EduCulture Certificate Program and Antioch University Concentration, and we celebrate their leadership and work in the field throughout the Puget Sound Region.

Here are the 2015-16 LEE Graduates and their Edible Education Vision Statements:

Barbara Bolles
School Garden Educator; EduCulture Instructor
Cultivating a deep understanding of the interconnecting cycles and systems of life through intimate involvement, students and teachers guide each other to discover the most humane treatment of all living organisms.  Growth is naturally nurtured in all academic disciplines, as well as in cooperation and compassion.  The border between them becomes penetrable as teaching and learning dissolve into each other.

Andrew Ely
Educator & Farmer, 21 Acres
I see a society in which all people, are healthy, are peaceful, are happy.

Edible education provides a foundation of knowledge and skills from which individuals are empowered to act on current ecological, economic and social inequities.

In 25 years I see…
– Public breakfast and lunch programs utilizing onsite and locally produced foods.
– Educational institutions utilizing garden and farm education for all subjects.
– Our communities having easy affordable access to culturally relevant wholesome foods.

Brian Gilbert
Cheesemonger, Beecher’s Cheese
Nature inspires action and a deep connection with our land enabling us to establish relationships in the community through a fundamental sharing of knowledge by engaging in co-education and cross-cultural ideas. As leaders, we collectively inspire children to eat whole foods upon planting and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables and understanding the food process by listening to the rhythm of the seasons and respecting the animals that share their lives to sustain ours.

Reconnecting to the natural traditions of food producers and honoring its antiquity allows us to enjoy gratifying nourishment while appreciating our native culture that the seed created.

We have the opportunity of daily gratitude to be educational caretakers of the earth by sharing locally produced foods. We provide knowledge of where our food is grown, nurtured, picked, packed, and distributed. We believe in sending ‘good vibes’ & enthusiasm through the tonality and presentation of food, leading to local congregation and global unity, balancing our modern life’s pace with humble simplicity, renewable with every sunrise.

When we collectively observe universal truths, explore our individual beliefs of personal identity then together we discover our communities expanding consciousness, evolve within co-creation and begin to taste the essence of our Edible Culture, participating in the celebration of life.

Patricia Hennessy
Founder & Director, Local Food Trust
Food is associated with both palate and appetite.  Palate being the appreciation of taste and flavor and appetite being a natural desire to satisfy a bodily need.  Of course, food intersects both. While a palate can be broad, an appetite can be deep or insatiable.

Edible education offers limitless possibilities to develop a broad palate around math and science, our health and human services, global citizenship, environmental sustainability, culture, arts and geography among other understandings of who we are and our role in a greater good.  Edible education can also satisfy our appetite through allowing us to dive deeper into a particular discipline or subject.  While knowledge of a subject matter in and of itself can simply be a tool for creation or destruction, edible education provides a unique opportunity to engage the learner/educator in a broader sense of self and demands a certain level of responsibility in exchange for its full and comprehensive understanding.

Therefore, the ultimate purpose of edible education is to inform, inspire and engage all ages and is to be inclusive of learners in pursuit of an education and educators pursuing further learning.  Edible education purposely offers a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary approach to an array of issues versus a singular and linear didactic delivery. It intentionally and deliberately instills a sense of accountability to community; local, regional and global all while using food (all facets) as a medium to create and stimulate dialogue, content and understanding of issues that commonly impact all of us as human beings.

In a formal setting (pK-12) edible education is reflected through a hands-on tactile problem solving approach. By doing, tasting, sensing and seeing children develop core academic knowledge that demonstrates mastery of one subject and at the same time build bridges between our commonalities and community.

Edible education can also be presented in an informal setting (community) as well.  In these presentation gardens, kitchens, u-pick farms, CSA’s and other natural settings all offer opportunities for teachable moments.

Angela King
Edible Educator; Instructor, Pure Foods Kids Foundation
Edible education is a truly revolutionary act.

Edible education aims to shift the dominant food culture that has severely impacted the health of ourselves, our communities, and the Earth into one that honors all individuals birthrights to be well; to not only survive but thrive.

Edible education seeks to honor the land by teaching sustainable food practices, communities by acknowledging and giving reverence to cultural heritage and native traditions, and ourselves by developing a deep and intuitive connection to the unchangeable truth that food is our medicine.
Edible education is the key to healing ourselves, our communities, and mother Earth.

Stevie Long
MAEd Candidate, Antioch University Seattle
A growing awareness of Edible Education around the world is crucial to a deeper understanding of personal, physical, mental, and global well-being. We have for too long denied the importance of understanding that food, what we consider food, and how we source, distribute, price, purchase, and consume that food plays in the role of improving or deteriorating our health and planet. Without greater need for the implementation of edible education, and the understanding of the role food plays in our environment, in our cultural, health, and social justice issues we quite honestly will not have the place to discuss and improve upon it. Food is not only a want but a need for all living things. Now is the time to realize that our old understanding of food and its purpose needs to be uprooted and replanted in a new fertile learning environment.

Amber Williams
MAEd Candidate, Antioch University Seattle
The purpose of Edible Education is to educate and reconnect children and adults alike with the source of their food, with hands on experience through the context of science and nature and the world we live in. Through the process of bringing the garden to the kitchen table and then back to the garden, allows for the integration of practical knowledge and growth of the spirit, which taps into the universal idea that good food brings us all together.

Town & Country Market Becomes a Classroom for High School Studies

EduCulture Leverages Local Community as Curriculum for Students

EduCulture has collaborated with Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island to develop field classes to enrich and enhance food studies for local Bainbridge High School students.  Lessons were developed for the Global Citizenship course, a required senior elective with a third of the curriculum focusing on farming and food, and Advanced Foods, a Career and Technical Education course.

One lesson helps students understand the anatomy of a grocery store through the variety of forms that one food group can take, i.e. fresh (conventional, organic), packaged, prepared, frozen, dried, grab & go. In small groups, students are assigned one of three types of food to survey and study: Kale, Coffee and Pizza.  They record a set of data for each form of food, from price, origin, packaging, and ingredients. After compiling their date, students compare and contrast these various forms to arrive at conclusions regarding best value for money, healthiest choice, best quality, and most ecologically sustainable.

In another lesson, students learn about meal sourcing at the grocery store.  In small groups, students are given an imaginary budget to source two versions of an imaginary group meal (appetizer, main course, dessert) they might eat as college students.  One version is sourced to be prepared from scratch with whole food ingredients.  The second meal is a version sourced from pre-packaged, ready-made items.  Student record their menus for the meals, then analyze their selections based on healthiest choices, best value for money, most enjoyable to prepare and most ecologically sustainable.

We also created a field class for the Global Citizenship curriculum at Middlefield Farm, owned by Town & Country Market and managed by local farmer Brian MacWhorter, where students examine a unique program in local food production for a local grocery store.

The BISD edible education initiative has helped to bridge classroom and community towards a more lived curriculum for local high school students. One that that localizes their global studies in farming and food, and helps prepare these young adults to navigate their food communities as college students.

Thank you to our community partner Town & Country Market for hosting Bainbridge High School classes, and making their store a classroom for local students, especially to Guest Instructor, Vern Nakata, and store manager Rick Pedersen.  Our gratitude to Bainbridge Schools Foundation for funding that made it possible to develop the educational architecture to deliver these lessons for Bainbridge Island School District’s Edible Education Initiative.



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 admin@EduCultureProject.org.  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: http://educultureproject.org/leadership-in-edible-education/

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: admin@EducultureProject.org or call 206-780-5797

For more about Antioch University Seattle’s degree/endorsement options, contact: emikel@Antioch.edu