Founded in 2007, Common Threads is a Bellingham, WA based non-profit that promotes a seed-to-table approach to food production, nutrition and environmental stewards.

Our Mission: Common Threads connects kids to healthy food in the garden, in the kitchen, and at the table. We want kids to grow up making food choices that are good for their bodies, their communities, and the environment.

Our vision is of a world where:

  • Adults make choices that set kids up for a life of healthy eating
  • All children have the resources, information, and experiences needed to make healthy food choices every day
  • Learning about and eating healthy food is understood as an integral part of any good basic education

Most of our programs take place on public school grounds, during the school day in collaboration with classroom teachers and food service staff. Additionally, Common Threads runs after-school and summertime gardening and cooking programs.


Common Threads’ core school-based program includes gardening lessons in the fall & spring, and cooking lessons in the winter. We also lead after school and summer programs in low-income apartment complexes and community centers, and lead spring break and summer camps at WWU’s Outback Farm.

What are the defining features of our approach?

  • School-based programs mean ALL kids get access to food education
  • Bringing our programs to low-income apartment complexes and community centers increases access to healthy food education for the kids living in these communities
  • Kids are more adventurous in a positive peer environment
  • Real tools, real recipes: kids are capable and will bring their families along by sharing what they learn at home
  • Simple, local and seasonal recipes: Healthy, tasty food can be inexpensive and easy
  • Our fabulous young AmeriCorps Food Educators are excellent role models and bring energy and enthusiasm!

Common Threads leads a Statewide AmeriCorps Team of Food Educators and is part of the AmeriCorps network of programs through Serve Washington. Our statewide team us made up of three other organizations (Coupeville Farm to School, Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center, and South Whidbey School Gardens). AmeriCorps Members are placed at these like-missioned organizations in addition to Common Threads’ own site in Bellingham. 

AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. CNCS engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteer and service efforts.


Common Threads evaluated our school-based gardening and cooking programs during the winter/spring of 2019. View a summary of the results here.

As a result of Common Threads programs, kids become more excited to try new foods! Our programs also help kids:

  • Learn to take turns, cooperate, and care for living things
  • Blossom in a non-traditional learning setting
  • Strengthen hard skills (knife skills, hygiene, how to plant, tend and harvest in the garden)

By the numbers


“My son came home so excited about a kale salad and how much he loves it! I’ve been trying to get him to eat salad for years! Thank you so much!”

Dani, parent at Harmony Elementary

“Having the Food Educators come in is so good for the kids. They all have their strengths, but the thing they have in common is their youth and their engagement – they’ve all wanted to be there, they’ve all demonstrated a passion.”

Teacher at Alderwood Elementary


Garden sites in Whatcom County


If you are interested in learning more about how we’ve been growing through the years, please take a look at our Annual Reports.