Revisiting OWWCC Documentary: What They Could Carry…Return to Manzanar

On the 80th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the forced removal of the Bainbridge Island Japanese community in March 1942, followed by their incarceration at the Manzanar concentration camp, we revisit our the short documentary, What They Could Carry…Return To Manzanar”, about our OWWCC 2012 Delegation to Manzanar, by filmmaker Brenda Berry.

OWWCC featured in BI History Museum Zoom Program, April 13, 2022

Our OWWCC 2009 Inaugural Delegation at the entrance to the former Manzanar War Relocation Center.

Authentically Teaching Bainbridge History: Delegation to Manzanar

April 13, 2022 at 11:30am, Wednesday – on Zoom

Join us to hear about the journey local teachers took to create their own stories through experiencing Manzanar alongside survivors.  Listen to perspectives from teachers, survivors and co-directors of the Only What We Can Carry Project (OWWCC), who have facilitated the past five delegations. 

Panelists:  Jonathan Garfunkel, Bill Covert and Lilly Kitamoto Kodama

The Bainbridge Island Senior/Community Center hosts this online program series in collaboration with the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.

You can watch the program, or click on this link:

Click on this link to view our short documentary on our 2012 OWWCC Delegation to Manzanar.

Akio Suyematsu Remembered in The Seattle Times for 80th Commemoration of EO 9066

On March 27, 2022, The Seattle Times published a series of stories about the Japanese American Exclusion during WWII on the 80th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066. Reporter Jackie Varriano wrote a feature story on one of our hero’s, Akio Suyematsu. EduCulture’s Jon Garfunkel assisted with research for this article. You can read this story and the other related features on other Bainbridge Islanders that have been a part of EduCulture and our Only What We Can Carry Project, such as Lilly Kodama and Vern Nakata, in The Seattle Times by clicking on the links below.

Click here to read: Meet Bainbridge Island’s last Japanese American farmer 
Suyematsu Farm wasn’t the first Japanese American farm or the largest, but Akio Suyematsu is known as the last Japanese American farmer on Bainbridge Island.  

Sunday, March 27, 2022
Dear readers: Throughout today’s editions of The Seattle Times, we offer a deep look at a painful chapter in U.S. history, the removal of Japanese Americans to incarceration camps. We also examine our 1942 news coverage of the event. 
A1 Revisited: The Seattle Times’ coverage of the 1942 removal of 227 Bainbridge residents left a harmful legacy 
Eighty years ago this week, the U.S. government sent Bainbridge Island’s Japanese-American residents to incarceration camps. Today we examine how The Seattle Times reported on the event. 
Why we must confront the racism and neglect of our own news pages 
We are deeply sorry for our harmful coverage of the incarceration of Japanese Americans and for the pain we caused in the past that still reverberates today. 
What we found when we examined our 1942 coverage of Executive Order 9066
On March 301942, Japanese American residents were forcibly removed from their homes. Here’s how the Seattle Times covered it and what we do differently today. 
For survivors of 1942’s forced removal from Bainbridge Island — and their descendants — the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial stands as a reminder to remember 
Eighty years ago, Bainbridge Island was the first location for the forced removal of Japanese Americans under the Civilian Exclusion Order.   
What life was like for Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Puyallup Fairgrounds 
Take a look inside the temporary camp at the Puyallup fairgrounds where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated in 1942.  
Seattle’s Panama Hotel is a living museum of the Japanese American experience 
The Panama Hotel — built in 1910, still serving tea — held the belongings of incarcerated Japanese Americans during WWII. The owner now hopes to create a museum. 


Jon Garfunkel Interviewed for The Seed Field Podcast

Through Eating, Sharing, and Studying Food We Can Build Sustainable Communities

The Seed Field Podcast, Antioch University, November 3, 2021, Episode S2E5

Do you know where your food comes from? Whether it is the food we are getting at a grocery store, farmer’s market, restaurant, or our backyard, understanding the way food is produced and the larger systems it is a part of can help us fight for more sustainable and equitable access to food. Scholar and dedicated food educator Jon Garfunkel talks with guest host Mair Allen about the ways that acts like reclaiming public spaces for gardening, having conversations with local food providers, and volunteering to help to feed your community can help us understand and correct problems in the food systems we currently depend on—both locally and globally.

Listen to the Podcast at:

Farming Bainbridge: Voices Past & Present, Zoom Discussion, Sept. 22, 2021

Join us for this panel discussion to hear some history of local farming and how it has changed over time.  Hear stories of Island strawberry fields and perspectives about food and farming today. September 22, 2021, 7-8p.

Panelists: Hisa Hayashida Matsudaira, Jon Garfunkel, and Brian MacWhorter

The Bainbridge Island Library hosts this program in collaboration with BIHM.

To enjoy the program, go to

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:

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.


Congrats to the LEE Graduating Class of 2019

LEE 2019 Cohort Graduation
LEE Cohort Celebrating at our Graduation Dinner, Maneki Restaurant, June 2019

Our Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program is pleased to announce the graduation of our 2018-2019 program cohort. In the photograph above, L-R, are graduates Sarah Bethell, Ashley Redfern, Haley Rutherford, Niallah Cooper-Scruggs, Kelly Powers, and Kim Hardman, at our Graduation Dinner at Maneki Restaurant in Seattle, with their LEE Certificates of Completion. We couldn’t be more proud and excited for what these six students accomplished over the past year to become fully engaged practitioners in edible education. We wish them well as they carry their LEE professional training and learning experiences out into the field.

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: