Farm Education And Sustainability for Teens (FEAST), will kick off at 1 p.m. on May 24 in the garden heart of Eastsound, the old Senior Center lots between Prune Alley and North Beach Road.
FEAST is designed to provide well-rounded skills to face a future susceptible to environmental and social change.
FEAST will focus on issues of sustainability, practical skills, and positive solutions. Students will learn to grow, prepare, and preserve their own food, learn about natural building and build a structure for community use. They will learn how to clean up toxins in the environment – such as oil spills – using oyster mushrooms, and about alternative energy systems, woodcarving, blacksmithing, organic gardening, bee-keeping, permaculture and local economics.
After learning from a wide range of experts, students will facilitate classes for younger children at Salmonberry Elementary School, the Farmers Market, and a final banquet. They will receive high school credit, supervised by Kari Schuh, career tech counselor at the Orcas High School, and each student will complete a 30-hour apprenticeship.
Whitney Hartzell is coordinating the 2008 program. She says, “The program will provide a meaningful experience for Orcas Island youth by developing lifelong skills, community involvement, and leadership in the sustainability movement.”
She adds, “The program is offered to high school students, grades nine through 12; currently there are 12 amazing kids signed up.”
The group dynamic between FEAST participants will focus on emotional safety, respect and team work for each other, the community and the land. There will be individual focus towards interpersonal growth, communication and leadership skills.
FEAST will also serve as a vital bridge between the educational system and the skilled community members of this county. Run previously in 2001 by Christopher Evans the program will again energize the community through youth engagement.
Collaborating educators and organizations include: La Campesina Project-Rhonda Barbari, Coffelt’s Farm, Maple Rock Farm, Black Dog Farm, Morning Star Farm, Orcas Farm, The Funhouse, The Green Horizon Project, Salmonberry School, Sustainable Orcas Island, Farm to Cafeteria, Sam Bullock, Rusty Diggs, Christopher Evans, Eric Youngren, Kaj Enderlein, Owen Cheevers and Kyler.
“I think one of the exciting things is the kids will be at certain farmers’ markets teaching their newly acquired skills and interacting with the community.” Cheevers said.
Barbara Klein, principal of Orcas High School supports the FEAST program. “The high school staff and students are excited about the return of the FEAST program. Through FEAST, students have the opportunity to practice sustainable farming as they learn the steps in the process of food production students will put in long hours of hard work and I expect that they will love it.
“Thanks to the work of Kari Schuh, our CTE (Career and Technical Education Director) the FEAST program has been approved as an agriculture class offering so that students can earn high school credit. Our students are very fortunate to live in a community that supports the FEAST program,” she said.
Adrian Speers is a student at OASIS high school that will be participating in FEAST this summer. “Our earth is in trouble and I would like to help with that,” said Speers.
Public FEAST classes are listed in the Orcas Island Recreation Summer Guide. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org.