The Food Bank has been growing. Last year, over 25,000 pounds of fresh local fruits and vegetables were made available to food bank clients. In that total, over 7,000 pounds came from the Good Cheer Food Bank Garden, over 1,000 came from the schools, and over 16,000 came from other local gardeners and farmers.
In fact, our work was recently recognized by Food Lifeline, a Washington Food Bank Distributor. The Good Cheer Food Bank and Thrift Stores was given the Award in Excellence in Food Resource Development for our work in bring more good food to food bank clients.
With a growing program comes new staffing needs, and we are pleased to announce that Lissa Firor started as the Good Cheer Food Bank Produce Manager in November, and Camille Green started as the Good Cheer Food Bank Garden Manager in January.
Both Lissa and Camille came to Whidbey as Community Garden Leadership Training Apprentices in the 2013 season. Lissa quickly settled into her role inside the food bank, doing an unbelievable job of organizing the walk-in refrigerator, preserving produce, coordinating volunteers, and tracking donations. Camille put her roots down in the garden and made quick friends with the compost worms and soil microorganisms, gratefully utilizing our stellar growing season to help grow the biggest harvest yet.
During these transitions, we want to especially acknowledge Cary Peterson, who helped to start the Good Cheer Garden in 2009.
Cary has been an extremely dedicated Garden Coordinator as well as vegetable consultant, soil specialist, food security advocate, and community facilitator. Her years of dedicated work and focused energy, attention, and knowledge have been instrumental and invaluable in building the garden and in getting it to the place it is today. We are grateful to have benefited from her drive and passion for so many years, and are excited for future partnerships as Cary turns her considerable energy and enthusiasm to helping to develop the South Whidbey School Gardens, and continue the Community Gardening Leadership Training program with the Whidbey Island Community Education Center.
As our community food system grows and develops here on South Whidbey, we want to thank all the volunteers, donors, and generally supportive community members who are helping us to develop a more self-sufficient and sustainable means of living. Here’s to another great season!