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Congratulations, and much appreciation to Camille, Lissa, Alexa and Casey for their completion of the Community Gardening Leadership Training in the Good Cheer Garden, Food Bank, Whidbey Institute Westgarden, and South Whidbey Academy, South Whidbey Elementary School and Langley Middle School Gardens.

While gaining experience in our community food system, their hard work and leadership made a big contribution towards our record harvest this year for the Food Bank!


As some of our crops are reaching the end of their life cycle, others are coming on quickly. The past two Wednesdays have seen a harvest of around 500 lbs of produce for the food bank! An energetic group of students from the University of Washington’s Urban Farm recently came by the help out in the garden. With the extra muscle we were able to flip, harvest, and clean up our compost bins, harvest rhubarb, beans, and beets, rebuild a terrace bed, and weed and prepare a couple new flowers beds!

Flowers are blooming, tomatoes are dripping off the plant, beans are trying their best to take over the garden, winter squash keeps on sneaking up on me, plums are attracting gleaners (both human and avian), and every day is another adventure and lesson in maintaining the garden without interfering too much in what nature wants to do. Check out our slideshow of beautiful pictures!

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A big welcome to Lissa Firor, 2013 Good Cheer Food Bank apprentice!

lissa_5078“I first fell in love with fresh veggies as a three-year-old helping in my mother’s garden in rural Northeast Oregon. Not until years later did I start to grasp the ways in which so many of the environmental and social issues that matter to me could be traced back to food production and distribution systems. Since graduating with an Environmental Science degree from the University of Idaho, I have worked and volunteered in production market gardening as well as outdoor education for youth.

I’m still searching for the niche where my interests and talents are best suited to make positive change in the world, but a few of the things I am captivated by at this point in my journey include:

  • The many ways that growing, cooking, & sharing food contribute to a strong sense of community.
  • Learning to live more simply and deliberately by shedding cultural norms and material goods.
  • Cultivating and sharing strategies for bringing our personal values and actions into alignment.
  • Exploring how connections with the natural world also help us to form deeper and more meaningful relationships with ourselves and each other.

I came to Good Cheer because I am interested in making healthy eating and environmentally-sound food choices available to people from all walks of life. I feel strongly tied to the Pacific Northwest, and would like to help more rural towns start farmers markets, co-ops, and food banks. The Good Cheer model is an exceptionally innovative example, and I’m excited to join and learn from the wonderful folks here in the kitchen, food bank, and garden!”

The apprentices for the Community Gardening Leadership Training are all here!

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A big welcome to Camille Green (Good Cheer Garden Apprentice), Casey Jackson (School Garden Apprentice) and Alexa MacAulay (Whidbey Institute Westgarden apprentice)!

Stay tuned for news of all they will be doing and learning!

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Providing fresh produce to the Food Bank YEAR ROUND!
Supporting local farmers, and educating youth!

Reserve your tickets now!

Sunday, April 28th
Banquet Fundraiser and Square Dance
Whidbey Institute, Thomas Berry Hall

5 pm:  Appetizers, with Silent Auction and Veggie Photo ops
6 pm: Banquet from the Good Cheer chefs
6:45 pm: Program and Live Auction with Jim Freeman
Square Dance follows with the Mudhen Callers

Thanks to last year’s fundraising, Good Cheer provided fresh food YEAR ROUND at the Food Bank! We are putting together another evening of great hilarity and fun to raise the money we need to purchase locally grown food throughout the winter from local farmers, and to fund educational programs for youth in the community and school gardens that are growing produce for Good Cheer.

Meet the youth and farmers who are growing for the Food Bank, and hear about all the ways Good Cheer is partnering with our community, schools and local non-profits to provide locally grown food year-round to the Food Bank!

Tickets available at
There is no cost to attend the banquet, but please give as generously as you can, or bring a friend who can! Jim Freeman will be auctioning a garden variety of fun and useful items. Get the laughing muscles in your cheeks ready!

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Fresh Food on the Table is a program of the Good Cheer Food Bank, in partnership with Whidbey Institute and the South Whidbey School District, in collaboration with the South Whidbey Commons, Deep Harvest Farm, Greenbank Farm, and Skyroot Farm.

Your generous donation helps Good Cheer to:

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Purchase locally grown food throughout the winter, from Deep Harvest Farm and other local farmers.

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Fund educational programs for youth in community and school gardens that are growing produce for Good Cheer.

    • Community Gardening Leadership Training apprentices at Good Cheer and the Whidbey Institute
    • School gardens at the South Whidbey Academy, and the Langley Middle School.
    • Culinary training with South Whidbey Commons

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Fund cooking, nutrition and gardening education at Good Cheer, as well as helping Good Cheer put the harvest up for the winter.

To support Fresh Food on the Table, you can also donate HERE 


Good Cheer partner logo copy smallGood Cheer Food Bank Apprenticeship

The Good Cheer Food Bank seeks an individual with a strong interest in Food Bank operations combined with a passion for cooking, food preservation, teaching and gardening. The Food Bank apprentice will learn how the Good Cheer points system works, and move into a leadership role in managing the distribution, processing and preservation of fresh food in the Food Bank. In addition, they will provide nutrition and cooking classes for Food Bank clients, and school-age youth. The apprentice will also participate in gardening, harvesting and educational activities of the Community Gardening Leadership Training.

The Good Cheer Garden, and the “Fresh Food on the Table” program, together with contributions from gleaning and local farmers, provide over 10,000 lbs of fresh local produce annually to the Good Cheer Food Bank.

The apprenticeship runs from April through Oct. 31, 2013.
Stipend and housing provided. Click Food Bank Apprenticeship 2013 for further information.

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A big welcome to Camille Green, the 2013 Good Cheer Garden apprentice!

For as long I can remember, I’ve loved being outside and playing in the dirt. Now, what once got me in trouble on the playground has become my life.  As I’ve grown older my interests in social justice, environmental issues, and international relations have allowed me to combine my childhood love of soil and plants with a blossoming academic and philosophical belief that growing good food is essential to fostering healthy communities, and one of the few simple ways of being a positive addition to this world.

From Oregon to Cameroon, I’ve attempted to experience food by growing it, processing it, preparing it, and eating it, and seeing what that means for each environment and community. I have a degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon, and have just moved back to the Pacific Northwest after a year and half working with different environmental and garden projects in Butte, Montana. While I desperately miss the Rockies, I am really happy to be back amongst tall trees, mild winters, stinging nettles, and abundant moisture. I am so excited to be a part of the garden gang, and really thrilled to be learning from all the intelligent and motivated people working on these projects!

                                                                                      ~~~ Camille

Community Gardening Leadership Training

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The Good Cheer Food Bank, and the South Whidbey School District, are partnering to offer a 7 1/2 month training in community gardening and leadership skills, with a focus on school gardens and garden-based curriculum, from March 2013 – October 2013.

This apprenticeship strengthens the school garden program of the Community Gardening Leadership Training. Besides participating in the educational program and field trips of the CGLT program, the school garden apprentice will also be developing and teaching garden-based curriculum in the schools, continuing the creation of the South Whidbey Academy Garden launched in 2012, developing composting programs, and helping to develop a long-term strategy for farm to school. The school garden apprentice will be assisted and mentored by school faculty and the CGLT coordinator, and will also have the support of the other apprentices in the program.

There are five gardens in the program, including three school gardens: the South Whidbey Academy, Langley Middle School, and South Whidbey Elementary School. All have either ongoing, or startup programs. The produce from these gardens goes to the Good Cheer Food Bank, and to school classroom activities.

Stipend and housing provided. Details and application below.

School Garden Apprenticeship – DESCRIPTION 2013

School Garden Apprenticeship – APPLICATION 2013

For more information and to apply, email Cary Peterson
Phone: 360-221-6046
Applications requested by February 28, 2013

We had a very successful 2012 season and are now seeking applicants for the Community Gardening Leadership Training apprenticeship next year! You can find more information and an application HERE.

  • The Good Cheer Food Bank, and the Learning from the Land program of the Whidbey Institute, are partnering to offer a 7 1/2-month training in community gardening and leadership skills, from mid-March 2013 – end-October 2013.
  • We are seeking two motivated individuals who wish to gain skills for future leadership positions in the field of sustainable community gardening. The training will combine hands-on, practical growing skills in small-scale food production with the leadership skills needed to initiate and manage community gardening projects, to coordinate volunteers, and to implement education and outreach programs.

Congratulations, and much appreciation to Bobby Cressman, Mech Kneidinger and Allie Urbanek for their completion of the Community Gardening Leadership Training with the Good Cheer Food Bank and Garden, the Whidbey Institute Westgarden, and also the Langley Middle School, Bayview High and the South Whidbey Academy Gardens!


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