Newsletters • People & Partners • Learning from the Land • Chinook Encounters
The air is cool, the nights are long, the gardens are asleep. Perhaps it is nature that inspires us to draw inward, treating January as a month for reflection and resolve. Many of us experience the new year as a time to become more fully ourselves—more committed to our heartfelt principles and healthy practices, and more fully engaged in sharing our passions, talents, and longings on behalf of what matters most to each of us.
In a changing world, how will we build and sustain resilient, equitable communities? How engaged can we be in issues that affect us and our neighbors? Together, can we counter hate with love, fear with gratitude, and complacence with hope grounded in practical action?
Help us give voice to the beloved place that is Chinook—the heart of South Whidbey, of the Salish Sea, and of Cascadia. Our experiences and our voices are no less a part of this place than the robins’ and the tree frogs’. Share your stories and help this place be heard!
The Whidbey Institute seeks accounts of your personal encounters with, or at, Chinook—from a meeting with a plant or animal, to a meeting with a friend or a memory, to a meeting with some undiscovered truth or hidden part of yourself. Submissions of prose, poetry, visual art, videography, music, and photography will be gratefully accepted. Read More →
The Westgarden has been cultivated by a long lineage of caring stewards since the 1970s. Its newest steward, Brit Schneider, joined the Whidbey Institute staff this month, and brought with her a passion for plants and people as well as a great breadth of experience in medicinal herbs, vegetable farming, volunteer mentorship, and garden education.
Brit grew up in this area, but spent time abroad and in Northern California as a young adult. Most recently, she moved from Sacramento, California, where she engaged in farming education and outreach at Soil Born Farms and worked in urban schools teaching garden education.
Brit described working with students in gardens, pollinator habitats, outdoor classrooms, and orchards at each of four sites—exciting educational contexts for students who, for the most part, had very limited access to fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and green spaces. “One student’s mapping project revealed that within a one mile radius of school, there were two places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and 21 liquor stores,” she explained. In these verdant spaces, Brit worked with students on topics ranging from growing food, eating, and cooking to sampling soil, assessing watersheds, and composting with worms. Read More →
We are delighted to welcome Holly Harlan as the Whidbey Institute’s Development Lead.
Holly is a mission oriented, passionate, and experienced business strategist who will bring new ideas and connections, practical experience from both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, and tremendous heart to our development team. Read More →
Blessings from Standing Rock
By Pir Elias Amidon
header photo ® John Duffy
Notes for a speech delivered at the Interfaith Gathering, Nevei Kodesh, 11/13/16
Reprinted with permission from the author; see more of his writing here: http://sufiway.org/teaching/notes-from-the-open-path
The rallying cry at Standing Rock — half prayer, half shout — is mni wiconi! — Water is Life! It’s a prayer of positive resistance, and goes beyond the immediate issue of that particular pipeline crossing the Missouri River in that particular place.
Mni wiconi is a prayer to protect life, and that’s the heart of the prayer that brings us together here, in response to the ominous promises of a Trump presidency.
In the coming months and years, we will need to take our stands—like at Standing Rock—against policies that will threaten the Healthy Flowing of Life—Mni Wiconi. Read More →
Westgarden Steward Abigail Lazarowski is leaving Whidbey Island later this winter to pursue personal and professional goals in the Portland, Oregon area. While we’re sad to see her go, we’re excited about the potential for a new team member to join us, and we’re proud of the care with which Abigail is stewarding our garden through this transition. Yesterday, Communications Manager Marnie Jackson sat down with Abigail to talk about the transition, the garden, and what to expect in the months ahead. Here’s that conversation. Read More →
We are seeking a permanent three-quarter time employee to join our staff team as Westgarden Steward. The Westgarden Steward is responsible for caring for the Whidbey Institute’s Westgarden as a growing and community education space.
The Westgarden, established in 1979, is a half-acre vegetable and medicinal herb garden on the Whidbey Institute grounds. The scope of the Westgarden is broad, and has three main areas of focus: organic food and medicine production; community education and volunteer engagement; and healing experience.