EduCulture Colleagues Share Their Stories


“What a rich experience the Strawberry Pathway is for Wilkes 4th graders. On our journey to the fields, we pause to take in the little history lessons of now and then the farm has to offer. The archive of tractors Akio used through the years. The gas pumps frozen at 66 cents a gallon. As we anticipate our work, we are delighted by a photo of an 8-year-old Gary Sakuma, whom we had met the day before, working in the strawberry fields in 1953. Weeding and mulching among the strawberry plants we feel as though we are working to keep history alive.”
– Bill Covert, 4th grade teacher partner, Wilkes Elementary School


“Over the last few seasons, I have partnered with EduCulture as a seasonal farm instructor and as guest chef for their farm to table dinner series. The work of EduCulture is truly making an imprint, not just with kids, but in our greater community at large. They are taking the lead role in getting kids out of the classroom, onto the farm and into the kitchen, a pivotal step to educating about where our food comes from, how to prepare it, and the difference between a garden, which feeds a family – and a farm, which feeds a community.

Leslee with ICPIt is very rewarding to see little ones develop attitudes of stewardship and wonder and to notice them notice the seasonal changes on the farm. It has been amazing to see kids who don’t want to eat veggies or get dirty, come full circle with participating in cultivation, seeding, planting, weeding, harvesting, cooking, tasting, and composting.

It has been fun to explore the Island’s rich strawberry heritage with kids through history lessons and teaching them how to tend strawberry plants at EduCulture’s Island Heritage Demonstration Plot, including the once popular and now hard-to-find Marshall Strawberry plant.”
– Leslee Pate Dixon, Chef in Residence, owner of Food Shed and Mossback Café



“As the former principal of Wilkes Elementary School and the current Assitant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Bainbridge Island School District, I’ve been directly involved with the work of EduCulture over several years. EduCulture has provided extensive training opportunities for teachers ranging from the farming connection to local history, the farm to table pipeline, and integrating the local farm and school garden experiences with current classroom curriculum strands. In addition, EduCulture has provided both guidance and support in the development of our school garden program. They even provided an authentic chick hatching experience for our Kindergarten students! In addition, EduCulture is currently working in partnership with schools and district departments to align strategies for waste disposal, recycling and composting and school garden/local farm connections.”
– Sheryl Belt, BISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction


historical tour SBFF

“Through the EduCulture program, our elementary students are able to see, hear, and feel the land-culture connection. Fourth graders study our Bainbridge Island history and breathe in the air at Suyematsu Farm, knowing that Japanese American families developed the vast farms that anchored our Island community. This experience is invaluable and an example of hands-on learning.”
– Mary Madison, 4th grade Wilkes Teacher


“The first course of the Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program gave me insight into our food system and what it means to be a food citizen. As an educator, it is my responsibility to make interactions simple, educational, and fun. With food as the centerpiece, lessons for anyone can be taken anywhere. One of my most memorable moments from the summer class was a two-minute activity that summed up, with a delicious treat, the importance of our foodshed.

Jon asked us all to close our eyes and put a raspberry into our mouth and to chew slowly, without immediately swallowing. That is when it hit me – we were tasting and living the farm all with a single raspberry. The full flavor of the soil, water, sun, and air was reflected through the red berry all in less than 30 seconds. I enjoyed my raspberry, but there was much more to it. We had all experienced, and began to understand, the terroir – a French word meaning ‘the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.’ But we applied this concept to one delicious raspberry.

This is the perfect activity for anyone. We can all learn something from it. And it is only appropriate to appreciate the delicious raspberry by reflecting on the resources that are required to grow it. Our interconnected ecosystem, influenced by farmers distributors, processors, and consumers, needs to be treated with utmost respect and stewardship. We may not all be farmers, distributors, and processors, but we are all consumers, and we should all act in a way that gives back to the fragile ecosystem we use for our food.”
– Andrew Ely, 2015-16 Leadership in Edible Education Student


Andrew Ely

“It has been inspiring and invigorating to be part of the Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program with EduCulture in partnership with Antioch University Seattle. The speakers and sites we had for the field classes really sparked great discussions among classmates, especially in digging into the role of edible educators and providing core principles for designing food education curriculum. It has also been valuable training as a responsible food citizen. The summer course, ‘Education Towards Food, Citizenship, and Community’, explored the anatomy and interrelationships of our regional food community and laid the foundation for us to think critically and constructively going forward.”
– Shoko Kumagai, 2015-16 Leadership in Edible Education student


“Not in a month of Sundays did my wife Karen and I ever think we’d be part of a magical summer ‘Sunset Magazine’ dinner party. But at the EduCulture Farm to Table Dinner in July, we enjoyed something even better; a mid-summer Bainbridge Island late afternoon, a light, warm breeze, the bucolic setting of a sunny knoll surrounded by the vines and fields of Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farms, the company of friends, old and new, food grown by local farmers prepared on-site and presented by local chefs, wines grown and produced by Bainbridge Vineyard, and a tour of the farm with knowledgeable commentary which knit together the more than 100-year history of the farmers and this farm on our Island! Sunset Magazine, eat your heart out!”
– Ed Kushner, Community Leader and Friend of EduCulture


“It has been a wonderful privilege to be part of the OWWCC delegations to Manzanar. The sacredness of the camp, the opportunity to talk with educators and see their excitement at uncovering things. The impact of OWWCC in schools and communities on Bainbridge Island and beyond is like ripples in a pond…it’s just going to keep growing.”
– Mary Woodward, Historian & Author, In Defense of our Neighbors


LEE Class Table

“The Master of Arts in Education Program at Antioch University Seattle is honored to partner closely with EduCulture Project to inaugurate the Leadership in Edible Education program. The MAEd Program provides a cohort of degree students the opportunity ultimately to complete what is designed to be a full degree concentration as well as the professional certificate jointly awarded by Antioch Seattle and EduCulture. This landmark program innovation fully reflects the campus and university commitment to sustainability, social justice, preservation of cultural heritage, personal fulfillment, and community well-being. As instructor, I am continually impressed at how the field classes engage students so fully in their learning about all aspects of the food system. This sort of direct experience surely grounds their learning more deeply and meaningfully than any other approach to education. They gain not only a firm, comprehensive, and enduring knowledge. From their direct encounter of the complexity of how each phase of our food systems operate, students also gain the sort of broad appreciation for the shaping influence of systems on essential food choices, habits, and attitudes. They thus develop both the larger social perspective and the personal daily commitments to a wise relationship to food in all its aspects that inform and sustain leadership in education for food citizenship and community.”

– Ed Mikel, Faculty/Antioch University Seattle



“The work of EduCulture is important in part because food is something we all have in common, we all have opinions about it. Not only our likes and dislikes come into play, as the concept of Food extends to all aspects of our community and shifting traditions. Similar to teaching about Democracy itself, and informed public makes far better and more sophisticated decisions. Both ancient and new traditions are carried through our ideas about food. Meals can tie a family together thus, in turn, unify a large community. Understanding how to work with food from the seed, to putting away the dishes, provides innate involvement for any classroom of students.”
– Christine Fulgham, Woodward MS Family & Consumer Science Teacher Partner


Brian - Banner

“My interest in education and working as a partner with EduCulture goes back to when I was teaching Biology with someone who said; ‘If I can just connect with one kid and see him develop a passion.’ I feel that way when we take the classes out (to the farm) – if there are a couple kids that take a life experience from that one trip – pulling a carrot out of the ground and just being blown away, and relating where we’re at – for me, job done. Even though they are not aware of it at the time, it will impact them. When I’m a farmer in that capacity, I’m a teacher. I’m using the farm and the garden as my classroom. I want to be able to make that connection.”
– Brian MacWhorter, Master Farmer, Butler Green Farms


Howard Block photo2

“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…then we found EduCulture. We have a great product to give (for use in edible education classes). And instead of locking yourself into growing a certain kind of corn, a certain kinds of beans, the varieties we’re giving are great varieties, which gets people turned on to different things. It works really well that way.”
– Howard Block, Owner, Bay Hay & Feed



“There are a lot of kids who may not be learning about farming and food at home. This is a great way to provide an opportunity for kids who may never have seen what it’s like to harvest a potato, where they come from – or taste a garlic scape, or pick cherry tomatoes…how much fun it is, and how tasty it is. Also to learn how to cook food. There are some kids who didn’t know this farm existed. There is something here in the community that’s pretty unique and special, and people find out about it. And maybe the kids get inspired to grow something – it’s another option for them. They can be out on the farm, learning how to grow food and observing nature. I think it’s a good win-win.”
– Betsey Wittick, Laughing Crow Farm and Bainbridge Vineyards