Summer Food Course Photos 2010

Summer Food Course Photos 2011

Summer Food Course Photos 2012

Welcome to this site, all interested in resilient farming!

Welcome to this site, all interested in resilient farming!

The postings most appropriate for you have the label, "Resilient Farms."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Community Seed-Swap -- a huge success!!!

Sponsored by Sustainable Bellingham - Earthcare Garden Designs - Food Not Lawns - Forest Garden Urban Ecology Center - Center for Local Self-Reliance, the seed swap today was a great celebration of community. Thank you! I’ve already planted my irises (ok, and some extra garlic).

Inspiration Farm at the Seed Swap

Robbie Burns Night: A Glorious Toast to the Haggis

Piping in the glorious haggis, Robbie Burns night

Last night we Bellingham Scottish Country Dancers performed at a Robbie Burns supper. The main event , though, was around the celebration of the small but nutrient-dense Haggis. Here is its ode (actually, “Address”): “Oh glorious sight,” “Fair is your honest happy face, Great chieftain of the pudding race,” “…take note of the strong Haggis fed…”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Towards a universal theory of everything: When Food is Toxic

See my recent posting at:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New You Tube Videos

Check out (Resilience) and (Good, Clean, Fair)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gigi and Slow Food -- the Trailer: Bellingham, Lopez Island, Switzerland, Italy

Solar Nutrition: Fat and Sun are not three-letter words (only)!

As I opened my window yesterday to let in as much sun as possible (yes, it was a sunny day in the Pacific Northwest), I realized that I was accessing Vitamin D, through one of the most available sources, the sun. Vitamin D, of course, isn’t so much vitamin as steroid hormone (responsible for the production of many compounds – antimicrobial peptides and more), and critical in regulating body levels of many chemicals, not least of which is, well, fat! That fat is an important endocrine organ is now common knowledge, thanks to the scholarly work of MIT computer scientist-turned diet researcher, Stephanie Seneff (see links on my blog,

What does Seneff say is a best source? The sun. And, what does low sun, and low Vitamin D do? Well, make you fat. For more, see recent work by Seneff:

Nourishing Foods alert: When is a calorie not a calorie, or rather, not an effective calorie?

 In international nutrition as discussed in work by the distinguished Cornell professor, Dr. Michael Latham, and perhaps also in exercise science? 

(See and my recent blog entry, Dr. Latham is widely known for his nutritional work in Tanzania. I first studied such work in a class I took with him at Cornell, when he was reporting on very puzzling evidence overseas. The data showed that even when caloric intake is controlled for (in scientific studies) and equalized at an extremely low level, some children can continue to thrive (relatively speaking) – a parent’s touch, family connection to the greater world through different media and networking, use of multiple languages in the home – all these can be as effective as additional calories in providing actual nutrition. Seemingly impossible, and certainly not a recipe for long-term survival (or happiness) and of course easy for me to say with my sometimes-overfed family in this world, but it shows that, well, food isn’t everything – when a gentle touch can be worth more than a teaspoon of corn meal. Likewise, exercise is much more effective (in terms of burning calories), when the movement itself is directed and focused (see my Finding Balance blog).

Growing Classes

My Agroecology and Sustainable Ag classes are full, very full (close to 60, up from the usual 15-18), and that’s very good news. I’m fortunate to be teaching such eager, experienced, and knowledgeable students! We could have sold tickets to our first potluck, the food was so FLOSS-Y (fresh, local, sustainable, seasonable, organic)! Some of the students are taking the class as a prerequisite (or, even a post-requisite, for those who attended the Sustainable Summer Tour last year) for the Summer Food Studies Course. This is a course that begins with a lovely culinary intensive from the high-end, up-market, generous Slow Foodie and Italy-loving caterers, Ciao Thyme. We then move to Lopez Island to the singular and premiere North American biodynamic farm – S & S Homestead. From there, we have a week intensive with me at the University here, then….6 weeks later, we make our way to Switzerland (studying at Biodynamics-central: the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland) and Florence, Italy (eating and studying Italian at Italian culture-central: la Toscana (Florence)), and then Bra and Pollenzo, Italy (studying at Slow Food-central: the University of Gastronomic Sciences, and finishing at the most art-ful Biodynamic Farm, possibly in the world – Inspiration Farm (also home of Gossamer Glass Studios). Che bella vita and che bei studi!!! For more, see and attend the informational session Wednesday, Jan. 26 3:00-4:30 in Old Main 585 (Western Washington University campus) and also Thursday, Jan. 27 at the International Opportunities Fair in the Multi-Purpose Room in Viking Union, 11:00-3:00.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Slow Food Evening

The lemon sorbino in lemon cup
Our Slow Food Nourishing Foods event at the Community Food Co-op, was quite wonderful -- stay posted for the February 15 event at the Co-op, this time focusing on Biodynamic and Holistic Farming. See Amy Kepferle's fine article, reporting on key food issues! (also below)
(there’s still room)

Cascadia Weekly
By Amy Kepferle · Wednesday, January 5, 201
Although I don’t consider New Year’s resolutions to be akin to blood oaths or pinky swears, I do know that the more people you tell you’re going to do something, the more that “something” becomes real.

That’s why, as a crowd of friends gathered around my dining room table last Saturday—the first day of 2011—to share a post-dip-in-the-icy-waters repast, I made the following announcement: “I resolve to eat less red meat, exercise on a regular basis, have more sex and not be afraid to tell people if they’re pissing me off.”

I guess I figured if I threw enough resolutions out there, one or more of them would stick. And I really hope they do. I’m getting older, and the extra weight I’ve been carrying around for the past decade or so isn’t as easy to ignore as it once was (hence the first two missives).

I was a vegetarian for a handful of years in my late 20s, so I already know how to cut down on carnivorous consumption without sacrificing that elusive element called flavor. But, in an effort to steer clear of “fast food”—and I’m not just talking about the hordes racing into Trader Joe’s from the store’s parking lot on any given day—I’ve been looking into the whole “slow food” movement and wondering how I could apply it to my own life (and those pesky resolutions).

Started in 1986 by Italy’s Carlo Petrini as a visceral reaction to the opening of a McDonald’s near Rome’s Spanish Steps, the movement’s basic tenets focus on “good, clean and fair” food practices—including, but not limited to, a focus on preserving traditional and regional cuisine, protecting heirloom varieties of fruit, vegetables and livestock, lobbying against the use of pesticides and preserving family farms.

From all evidence, eating the slow food way is being aware of every bite you’re putting in your mouth—whether it’s a thrice-processed McNugget or a warm egg culled moments before from beneath the haunches of a plump chicken. It also seems to be about not relying on the frozen food section of your favorite grocery store, but instead seeking out fresh ingredients and cooking and eating them, slowly, in a way that honors their origins (I guess that’s where the movement’s mascot, a snail, comes into play).
To learn more, I plan on attending Gigi Berardi’s presentation on “Slow Food and Nourishing Traditions” Jan. 12 at the Community Food Co-op’s Connection Building. There, she’ll show slides from Slow Food centers in Italy, share opportunities for further studies and provide edible samples via gastronomical goodies provided by Bellingham’s Ciao Thyme.

Meanwhile, I’m going to cut out burgers and mindless snacking (including that super-sized bag of chocolates I got in my Christmas stocking), think twice about taking the stairs versus the elevator, bat my eyelashes more often at my boyfriend and tell that certain someone what I really think of their obnoxious Facebook posts they’re so fond of cranking out. Pinky-swear.

January 12, 2011 Food for Thought: Slow Food and Nourishing Traditions, Community Food Co-op, Downtown Bellingham, 6:30 p.m. Detailed description: Slow Food and Nourishing Traditions
with Gigi Berardi
January 12, 6:30–8:30 pm
Downtown Co-op/register at Co-op
The Slow Food movement links the pleasure of preparing and eating food to environmental sustainability and food community resilience. Come enjoy a workshop featuring slides of Slow Food centers in northern and central Italy, narration by Huxley professor and coordinator of the Resilient Farm Project Gigi Berardi, and fabulous food by Ciao Thyme.