the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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bread is broken

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 12.51.33 PMOn the morning of July 13, like most mornings, Stephen Jones’s laboratory in Mount Vernon, Wash., was suffused with the thick warm smell of baking bread. Jones walked me around the floor, explaining the layout. A long counter split the space down the middle. To the right was what Jones called ‘‘the science part,’’ a cluster of high-tech equipment designed to evaluate grain, flour and dough. Jones, who is 58 and stands a daunting 6 foot 5, calls to mind a lovably geeky high-school teacher. He wore dungarees, a plaid shirt, a baseball cap and a warm, slightly goofy smile. Two pairs of eyeglasses dangling from his neck jostled gently as he gesticulated, describing the esoteric gadgetry surrounding us. The 600-square-foot room, known as the Bread Lab, serves as a headquarters for Jones’s project to reinvent the most important food in history. Click HERE to read more!

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plant breeding for local food systems


The rapid growth and co-option of the local agriculture movement highlights a need to deepen connections to place-based culture. Selection of plant varieties specifically adapted to regional production and end-use is an important component of building a resilient food system. Doing so will facilitate a defetishization of food systems by increasing the cultural connection to production and consumption. Today’s dominant model of plant breeding relies on selection for centralized production and end-use, thereby limiting opportunity for regional differentiation. On the other hand, end-user-driven selection of heirloom varieties with strong cultural and culinary significance may limit productivity while failing to promote continued advances in end-use quality. Farmer-based selection may directly reflect local food culture; however, increasing genetic gains may require increased exchange of germplasm, and collaboration with trained plant breeders. Participatory farmer–breeder–chef collaborations are an emerging model for overcoming these limitations and adding the strength of culturally based plant breeding to the alternative food movement. These models of variety selection are examined within the context of small grain and dry bean production in Western Washington.

Read the full study (pdf)

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job opportunity!

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Here’s a well-paid reporting fellowship with an environmental flavor based on a beautiful island off of Seattle:

YES! Magazine seeks a journalist for a one-year, full-time, in-house reporting fellowship based in our Bainbridge Island, Washington, office, near Seattle. The fellow will receive a salary of $40,000, plus vacation and health benefits.

This fellowship is designed to support reporters from communities that are often underrepresented in the field of journalism. YES! Magazine established this fellowship to increase diversity in our economic and environmental reporting and writing.

Here is the full job description

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horticulture program at edmunds community college

If you live in Washington and want to get into sustainable agriculture but don’t know where to start, you might consider the Horticulture program at Edmunds Community College. Their website says:

If you enjoy working outdoors, growing plants, and repairing damaged land and habitat, watch your opportunities bloom with an education in horticulture.

Gain the knowledge and skills to create green spaces using sustainable methods and techniques.

You will find jobs in areas such as plant production, landscape design, restoration horticulture, landscape management and installation, organic farming, and garden preservation. Our classes cover plant care, propagation and identification, integrated pest management, water conservation, and sustainable practices.

Our program offers students hands-on field experience while providing an excellent learning environment in the classroom. In addition to class work and field work, our department presents a variety of speakers each year and encourages student participation in professional and specialty organizations.

Our student and alumni professional network provides a chance for exchange of current information and excellent employment opportunities.

It’s a great, affordable, practical education for budding agriculturists. Learn more about the program and how to apply on the WEBSITE.

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want to become an organic farmer??


Interested in becoming an organic farmer? Become a student at the Organic Farm School! Applications are currently being accepted.

Located on scenic Whidbey Island in Washington State, the Organic Farm School (OFS) at Greenbank Farm trains aspiring farmers to run successful small-scale organic farms. During the full-time, 7.5-month program, students spend a third of their time participating in weekly classes and field trainings, going on bi-weekly field trips to other farms, and engaging in the writing of a personal farm business plan. Students spend the balance of their time co-managing the eight-acre OFS student farm, which focuses on market-scale production of organic vegetables, seed crops, and cover crops with berries, poultry, lambs, and bees incorporated as well. Through this balance of academic and experiential studies, students experience all aspects of starting and running a small-scale organic farm, from goal setting and business planning to planting, harvesting, and marketing. With this skill and knowledge base, graduates are able to minimize their risk and maximize their success as they enter the growing field of sustainable farming. Students also have the option to earn college credit and a certificate in Sustainable Farming through our partnership with Skagit Valley College.

For more information or to apply, please visit our website at

or contact:

Sebastian Aguilar
Training Director
Greenbank Farm
765 Wonn Rd, A-201
Greenbank, WA, 98253

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washington: local food systems training for young adults


Registration is currently open for the 2014 year of Cascade Mountain School. Five programs for middle and high school students run from June to August. Need-based scholarships are available on a case-by-case basis.

This year’s course offerings are:

  • Sustainable Agriculture Course: June 21-July 3. This for-credit course for students age 15-18 is based in Trout Lake, Wash., at the base of Mt. Adams. Students dig into what agricultural sustainability means at the individual, local and global scales while farming, cooking and bicycling around this beautiful valley. High school science credit, college credit and 20 hours of service credit are available.
  • Mt. Hood Watershed Science Camp: July 20-25This adventurous, science-based camp for students age 14-18 explores the Hood River watershed.  Students start on the flanks of Mt. Hood and backpack, bicycle, and raft down the Hood River while learning how this rich ecosystem functions.
  • Farm to Table Bike Camp for High School Students: July 27-August 1. This fun-filled camp for students age 15-18 is based in in Trout Lake, Wash., at the base of Mt. Adams.  Students farm, cook, and bicycle through a beautiful organic valley while having conversations about food and food choices.
  • Farm to Table Bike Camp for Middle School Students: August 3-8. This fun-filled camp for students age 12-14 is based in in Trout Lake, Wash., at the base of Mt. Adams. Students farm, cook, and bicycle through a beautiful organic valley while having conversations aboutfood and food choices.
  • Field Ecology Course: August 3-16. This for-credit course for students age 15-18 is based on Mt. Adams and in Trout Lake, Wash.  Students get a hands-on field science experience working alongside professional scientists and learn about climate change, glaciers and mountain ecology. High school science credit, college credit and 20 hours of service credit are available.

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