The Common Threads Blog

Kids make hummus – and eat it too!

Kids make hummus – and eat it too!

"This little boy liked the hummus so much that he offered to finish off the leftovers!" - Indigo Larson, Food Educator by Indigo Larson, AmeriCorps Food Educator During our cooking training a few weeks ago, I asked, “Do we give kindergarteners knives and peelers too,...

Farmer Joe’s November garden tips

Farmer Joe’s November garden tips

November is the time of year when we put our gardens to bed, and the trees start going to sleep too - shedding leaves and stopping growth to protect themselves against frost. In tree-language we call it going “dormant”. Trees in our area enter dormancy in November and...

Make a Difference Day Work Parties

Make a Difference Day Work Parties

Make a Difference Day happens every year on the last Saturday of October. In honor of the day, Common Threads Food Educators held a number of work parties throughout the month of October to get community members involved in their school garden. All told, 110...

More kids attend camp on scholarship than ever before

More kids attend camp on scholarship than ever before

When school’s out, it’s time for camp!  The beautiful 5-acre grounds of the WWU Outback Farm is the perfect spot for exploring nature and healthy food.   From the beginning, Common Threads’ has been committed to never turning a child away for lack of funds. This year,...

Impact of Common Threads school gardening & cooking programs

Impact of Common Threads school gardening & cooking programs

In the 2018-2019 school year, over 6700 kids in 21 schools across four school districts in Whatcom County gardened, cooked, and ate with Common threads. But so what? What changed because of our programs?  In the spring of 2019, we conducted an evaluation of our...

At-Risk After-School and Summer Programs

At-Risk After-School and Summer Programs

When school’s out, too many children in our community spend their time in environments where there is not enough to do, not enough to eat, and not enough positive human contact. This past year, thanks to support from Share our Strength and the Chuckanut Health...

Winter Garden Tips

Winter Garden Tips

As colder temperatures become more commonplace, most crops are coming out of season. But, in the Pacific Northwest, October is the perfect time to plant garlic. In our school gardens, kindergarteners are planting garlic right now to be used in next years cooking...

Upcoming Make A Difference Day Work Parties, 2019

Upcoming Make A Difference Day Work Parties, 2019

Make A Difference Day is one of the largest annual days of service nationwide. YOU can make a difference this year! Help at one of our upcoming school garden work parties so that kids can continue to have access to healthy food education in schools. Just bring your...

Rice & Greens at Birchwood International Market

Rice & Greens at Birchwood International Market

Have you been to the Birchwood International Market yet? If not, you should go - though you'll have to wait for next year. The summertime market is a large open air market celebrating the rich cultural diversity of Birchwood featuring cultural performance, music, and...

When is the Harvest Dinner?

When is the Harvest Dinner?

If you’ve been looking forward to Common Threads’ annual Harvest Dinner (squash soup, kale salad, roasted root veggies, apple crisp, good company… yum!) we’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. First, the bad news: the Harvest Dinner as you have known it...

Springtime in the Garden: Part 3

Springtime in the Garden: Part 3

Curious Minds and Dirty Hands Have you ever wondered what happens during an elementary school garden lesson with Common Threads? AmeriCorps Food Educators share a sneak peek into our some of our lessons this spring. This is a multi-part series, stay tuned for future...

Springtime in the Garden: Part 4

Curious Minds and Dirty Hands Have you ever wondered what happens during an elementary school garden lesson with Common Threads? AmeriCorps Food Educators share a sneak peek into our some of our lessons this spring. This is a multi-part series, stay tuned for future...

Springtime in the Garden: Part 2

Springtime in the Garden: Part 2

Curious Minds and Dirty Hands Have you ever wondered what happens during an elementary school garden lesson with Common Threads? AmeriCorps Food Educators share a sneak peek into our some of our lessons this spring. This is a multi-part series, stay tuned for future...

Springtime in the garden! Part 1

Springtime in the garden! Part 1

Curious Minds and Dirty Hands Have you ever wondered what happens during an elementary school garden lesson with Common Threads? AmeriCorps Food Educators share a sneak peek into our some of our lessons this spring. This is a multi-part series, stay tuned for future...

Kids Cook Lunch!

A hands-on summer feeding program at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center Over the past year, a delicious partnership has been forming between the EWRRC and Common Threads, a Bellingham-based nonprofit that helps kids fall in love with healthy food through...

Moments from Spring Break at Regency and Sterling Meadows

Moments from Spring Break at Regency and Sterling Meadows

During Spring Break this year, some of our Food Educators led cooking activities at both Regency and Sterling Meadows apartment complexes. Keep reading to hear some of the highlights! Our first day at each site was  “Exercise & Health Day.” We danced Zumba,...

Teaching kids creativity and connection in a low-budget kitchen pantry

Teaching kids creativity and connection in a low-budget kitchen pantry

by Carly Markowitz, AmeriCorps Food Educator We've all been there. "What can I whip up for dinner with this?", you might say to yourself, gazing into a fridge with yesterday's leftovers and veggies that need to be eaten before they pass their prime. Creativity and...

Just Cook!: Kids Supper Clubs

Just Cook!: Kids Supper Clubs

by Sophie Nicholakos, AmeriCorps Food Educator “What do I do now?”, Octavio asked after we finished opening and rinsing cans of chickpeas for the Chana Masala we were making. “Well,” I  said, “Do you want to help me recycle these cans?” Octavio had never recycled cans...

Three Sisters Stew: Filling our minds and bellies

Three Sisters Stew: Filling our minds and bellies

by Ellie Twitty, AmeriCorps Food Educator For millennia, from Mexico to Montana, women have mounded up the earth and laid three specific seeds in the ground - all in the same square foot of soil. There are many stories of how the three seeds came to be, but they all...

A Winter Borscht Tale: “I just had to find out”

A Winter Borscht Tale: “I just had to find out”

Written by Lindsay Williams, one of our AmeriCorps Food Educators “Cabbage!”  “Carrots!” “Garlic!”  “Onion!” “Salt and pepper!”  “Olive oil!” “Lemon!” “Beets!” These were the sounds of students joyfully shouting out the ingredients of borscht pictured on a PowerPoint...

Bellingham’s New Central Kitchen – a 2013 dream come to fruition!

Bellingham’s New Central Kitchen – a 2013 dream come to fruition!

by Sydney Latas, AmeriCorps Food Educator “I am just so proud of Bellingham,” said one Common Threads team member at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bellingham Public School’s new Central Kitchen. The work to realize the vision for the Central Kitchen, which began...

Applesauce – so sweet you don’t even need sugar!

Applesauce – so sweet you don’t even need sugar!

By Anya Vollstedt, AmeriCorps Food Educator With the start of December, Common Threads Food Educators began teaching our second recipe of the cooking season! "What are we cooking today?!" students ecstatically asked Food Educators as they walked into the classroom....

Gimme Five for Giving Tuesday: Perspective of a Food Educator

Gimme Five for Giving Tuesday: Perspective of a Food Educator

by Lindsey Rieck, AmeriCorps Food Educator During my first garden lesson at Geneva Elementary, one 3rd grade student rejected my offer of freshly picked kale from the garden during  our class taste test, saying, “I don’t eat raw food.” A few weeks and a couple classes...

Thankful for our Farmers

Thankful for our Farmers

by Anya Vollstedt, AmeriCorps Food Educator at Common Threads When the time comes to cook with over 6000 kids, one of the big questions is, “Where will the food come from?”  For our first recipe (kale salad) for instance, we knew we would need to source 6000 kale...

The Best Salad You’ve Ever Eaten

The Best Salad You’ve Ever Eaten

by Sara Bauer, AmeriCorps Food Educator at Common Threads Farm “This is the best salad I’ve ever eaten!” exclaimed an excited third grader at Geneva elementary last week at the end of class, upon tasting her kale salad, the first recipe of our Winter Cooking Season...

The Village That Grows Good Eaters – A Harvest Dinner 2018 Review

The Village That Grows Good Eaters – A Harvest Dinner 2018 Review

Guest blog post & photos by Lisa Moeschler Want more photos? Visit the Harvest Dinner 2018 Facebook photo album! We’d had much discussion leading up to last Thursday’s planned outing on a school night. “There’ll be lots of kids,” I had promised my seven-year-old,...

Summer at Common Threads

Summer at Common Threads

As usual, summer went by in a blur! As we gear up for another school year of gardening and cooking with kids, here’s a quick glance back at the summer. Camps Over 140 kids explored, made new friends and prepared healthy snacks during camps at the Outback Farm at WWU. ...

Garden to Cafeteria Spotlight: Carl Cozier

Ms. Maria couldn’t believe how quickly the salad was eaten– the kids love kale! Carl Cozier’s food service lead Maria Moench made sure that the kale, harvested from the Cozier school garden by Mrs. Conlon’s second graders, became part of a tasty Plant Part Salad. By...

4th Grade Food Detectives

“I used to think that my parents were mean when they kept me from eating junk food, now I know they do it because they love me,” observed one 4th grader in a recent Pure Food Kids workshop. Our students are investigating ingredient labels and nutrition facts, learning...

Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit

Garden to Cafeteria Toolkit

Imagine a fresh strawberry plucked from your home garden. A ripe tomato from your yard. Fresh fruits and veggies are tastiest just after they’re harvested ripe. - And if you grew them yourself, they’re even tastier! Maybe it’s the taste of love? Or pride? Or effort?...

Spring Comes, and the Kids Supper Club Blossoms

Spring Comes, and the Kids Supper Club Blossoms

“I have been waiting all day for cooking class to start!” said Xavier, a 6th grader and student chef who lives in the Regency Park Apartments. During spring break, ten student chefs in grades 3rd to 6th who live at Regency Park enthusiastically worked together to cook...

Kids Dayz Spring Break Camp

The annual Kids Dayz Spring Break Camp at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center was extra tasty this spring. Through a partnership with Common Threads, this four-day camp provided students a chance to engage their minds, hands, and taste buds.  Each day of camp...

Volunteer spotlight: Doug Banner and his Mason Bees

Volunteer spotlight: Doug Banner and his Mason Bees

Three wooden blocks appeared in our office this winter. A grid of mud packed holes graced each block. The stack was labeled “emerge March” and “Doug” with a phone number... “Doug,” it turns out, referred to Doug Banner, a professor of Health and Community Studies at...

Healthy soil, healthy kids

Healthy soil, healthy kids

Dirt made my lunch, dirt made my lunch…. Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch, ‘cuz dirt made my lunch. -Banana Slug String Band Ask just about any 2nd grader with a Common Threads school garden, and they’ll tell you how important “dirt” is... But what are kids learning...

Common Threads Farm Camp at The Outback

Common Threads Farm Camp at The Outback

His first day of Farm Camp, camper Xavier exclaimed, "My favorite part was making so many new friends!"... That's our favorite part too! Farm Campers all enjoyed making new friends as part of their week-long adventure in cooking, eating, and exploring the magical...

Springtime Preschool in the Garden

Springtime Preschool in the Garden

Heading up the path to meet her parents, Sienna remarked that her least favorite part about camp is that the week "is too short"... She's right, of course. We all wish Preschool in the Garden could happen every day! The magical gardens, trails and gathering spaces at...

Sweet Stories from Camp Honey

Sweet Stories from Camp Honey

Camp Honey got the buzz on pollinators! Throughout the week, we learned about flower anatomy, the lifecycle of a honey bee, and the role of Blue Orchard mason bees in the garden. Campers got to use beeswax to make candles and lip balm, chop up bamboo to make mason bee...

A story of service, by Americorps Food Educator Bree Farmer

Happy AmeriCorps Month!  Common Threads feels very fortunate indeed to have 13 fabulous AmeriCorps service members helping to grow good eaters across Whatcom County. These are smart, passionate, creative young people who have gifted our community with 10.5 months of...

A story of service, by Americorps School Farmer Alyssa Stewart

A story of service, by Americorps School Farmer Alyssa Stewart

Happy AmeriCorps Month!  Common Threads feels very fortunate indeed to have 13 fabulous AmeriCorps service members helping to grow good eaters across Whatcom County. These are smart, passionate, creative young people who have gifted our community with 10.5 months of...

A story of service, by Americorps Food Educator Angela Moran

A story of service, by Americorps Food Educator Angela Moran

Happy AmeriCorps Month!  Common Threads feels very fortunate indeed to have 13 fabulous AmeriCorps service members helping to grow good eaters across Whatcom County. These are smart, passionate, creative young people who have gifted our community with 10.5 months of...

A story of service, by AmeriCorps School Farmer Blair Sando

Happy AmeriCorps Month!  Common Threads feels very fortunate indeed to have 13 fabulous AmeriCorps service members helping to grow good eaters across Whatcom County. These are smart, passionate, creative young people who have gifted our community with 10.5 months of...

Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel Murphy

Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel Murphy

Daniel began volunteering with Common Threads as an intern through the Human Services Program at Western Washington University. Excited about empowering students to make informed decisions about food choices, Daniel volunteered with Common Threads camps at The Outback...

Cooking with Common Threads: Garden Stir Fry

Cooking with Common Threads: Garden Stir Fry

The first clue that it’s a cooking day at any local elementary reaches most students through their noses. Last month the sweet spicy aroma of turmeric and cumin permeated the hallways. This week and through early March, it’s a new scent: garlic, tamari, and ginger!  ...

What’s cooking after school?

What’s cooking after school?

School had finished for the day, but a group of 3rd through 5th grade students at Geneva Elementary were still excited to learn as they gathered to make tacos. Working as a team, students chopped apple and cabbage and made their own tortillas from scratch. Apple,...

Cooking with Common Threads: Potato Curry!

Cooking with Common Threads: Potato Curry!

Did you know that the spice turmeric comes from a rhizome of a plant in the ginger family? That cumin was used in mummification in ancient Egypt? That black pepper actually is the fruit of the plant? Our students are learning about these spices and much more in this...

Local Farms Contribute to Classroom Cooking

Local Farms Contribute to Classroom Cooking

From November through March close to 6,000 kids in 273 classrooms across 21 Whatcom County Schools are cooking with Common Threads. The students--aged 5 through 14--get to peel, chop, grate, stir up, and savor a healthy meal cooked communally. While we source as much...

Cooking with Common Threads

Cooking with Common Threads

We had such a great time gardening this fall! Our students learned and experienced so much while exploring the wonders of our school gardens! Now that we’ve pulled in our harvest, planted cover crop and mulched our garden beds for winter, we turn to classroom cooking...

8th Annual Harvest Dinner – a Community Celebration!

8th Annual Harvest Dinner – a Community Celebration!

For our 8th Annual Harvest Dinner, over 100 friends and family celebrated with Common Threads the harvest of crops planted throughout the year, and the role of community in growing good eaters! Preparation began many months prior, of course, with cultivating soil and...

School Garden Spotlight: Lowell Elementary

Lowell Elementary 3rd grade teacher Liane Koester likes to emphasize “bringing the food cycle full circle.” That full circle is made manifest in the Lowell School Garden! Established in the spring of 2016, the Lowell garden was the result of Lowell PTA vision, with...

Introducing Common Threads’ 2017-18 Americorps Team…

Introducing Common Threads’ 2017-18 Americorps Team…

Common Threads is growing! Our largest Americorps team yet includes Food Educators and also School Farmers, serving collaboratively to ensure community-wide support for thriving school garden learning spaces, increased outreach to families, after-school programs, and...

GARDEN ANGEL SPOTLIGHT & HONOR ROLL

As schools return to their rhythms and garden lessons commence, we thank and applaud our summer garden care volunteers - our Garden Angels! Having signed up at the end of spring, Garden Angels cared for gardens all summer - weeding, harvesting, and keeping plants...

Intern Spotlight: Amber Anderson

Common Threads cherishes interns who contribute multifaceted talents, kindnesses, and passions to growing good eaters! This summer, we were delighted to welcome Amber Anderson whose internship was a culminating experience for a Bachelor of Science degree in Community...

Harvest Dinner 2015 – what a night!

Looking for information about the upcoming Harvest Dinner?  Find it here!   Over 150 people attended the 6th annual Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 29! AmeriCorps Food Educators worked hard early in the week to harvest vegetables that had been grown by kids...