Guest Chef Karen Jurgensen of the Quillisascut Farm will prepare a three course meal of seasonally available ingredients with wine pairings to bring the taste of the Farm to the dinner guests in Seattle at FareStart. Featured will be the traditional farmstead goat cheeses from the Quillisascut Farm.
A slide show and presentation on the 2009 Slow Food Youth Workshop at the Quillisascut Farm will be presented by Danny Barksdale, Adriana Rose Taylor-Stanley and Amy Grondin.
What: The Slow Food Seattle Quillisascut Farm Student Scholarship Fundraiser
Where: FareStart, 7th & Virginia (downtown Seattle)
When: Thursday, November 5th, 6pm
Cost: $50 per member (plus tax and gratuity) $60 non-members
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Slow Food Youth Workshop at Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts, August 6-12, 2009
By Amy Grondin
I was fortunate to have been invited by Lora Lea Misterly to assist her in leading the first Slow Food Youth Workshop at the Quillisascut Farm in the second week of August. Lora Lea and I met each other for the first time in October of 2008 at Terra Madre. Terra Madre is Slow Food International’s biennial meeting that brings together international food communities, cooks, academics and youth delegates for four days to work towards increasing small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production. In Turino, Italy during the fourth week of October, the third edition of Terra Madre hosted representatives from over 150 countries. The guests together were human links in the food chain, supporting sustainable agriculture, fishing, and breeding with the goal of preserving taste and biodiversity. Once back home in Washington, Lora Lea’s idea to host the week long Slow Food Youth Workshop at the Quillisascut Farm was her way of sharing our experience at Terra Madre with young people who are interested in small scale and sustainable food systems. On the farm 13 youth had a chance to experience life on a working farm. While those attending were all considered youth, between the ages of 18 and 29, they were from varied backgrounds, communities and levels of education. The commonality that brought them all together was a passion for food, a desire to learn about how we produce what we eat and a willingness to open themselves to a completely new vision of what it meant to be part of a food community.
For most people, food is what they purchase mindlessly from the counters of a grocery store, neatly wrapped, packaged and portioned. Little or no thought goes into where the food is from and how it came to be available to go home in the trunks of cars and find its way to dinner tables. The week on the Quillisascut Farm gave each student a chance to experience milking goats and then creating cheese from the milk in the buckets that were carried from the barn. Vegetables tended in garden were harvested in the morning, washed and chopped in the afternoon to be cooked lovingly for dinner that evening. On goes the list of food that was produced on the farm and prepared with all our hands to nourish us that week – eggs, chickens, apricots, honey, goat – all products of earth and hard work that rewarded each of us with full stomachs and the knowledge of how our meal made its way to the table.
This knowledge also reminded us of our role as members of a food community. We were reminded that as consumers we are not removed from but active participants in our food community. The more educated we are on where and how our food is produced, the more we can support all in our food community – the farmers, harvester, distributors, grocers and other consumers. By making informed purchases we can help to keep the greater communities we live in economically strong and environmentally healthy.
Each day on the farm offered not only education from working with our hands but also from daily discussions based on powerful words: sustainability, respect, biodiversity, community, grateful and enough. The hour long talks around the 15′ long common table in the Quillisascut Farm’s kitchen invited all to reflect and share how these words are used in our culture and how the meanings of these words could guide us as we develop our own value systems that will lead us through our lives. Each day brought the students greater trust in each other through the shared tasks of farm work. That trust was revealed daily as the students shared more freely of their thoughts during the morning meetings. By the end of the week the 13 strangers who had arrived on the farm had become a community of diverse individuals bound together through shared experiences. They understood that while community is often a place based thing, a community could also be formed by individuals who share common goals, work or ideals.
In an effort to continue to share the lessons learned on the Quillisascut Farm, plans are in the works for the students to make presentations for their local Slow Food chapters based on their experiences from the week. Local Slow Food chapters sponsored half of the tuitions for the students to attend. Reporting back to the local chapters will encourage more sponsorship for future Slow Food youth groups to travel to the Quillisascut Farm.
One such presentation will be led by Danny Barksdsale, a Seattle based chef/instructor at FareStart, and Adriana Rose Taylor-Stanley, a University of Washington student and member of the UW Farms Program. Both individuals were sponsored by Slow Food Seattle to attend the Slow Food Youth Workshop on the Quillisascut Farm. Their presentation will be part of the November dinner prepared by Chef Karen Jurgensen at the FareStart facility in Seattle. The dinner will be held to raise scholarship funds for the 2010 Slow Food Youth workshop. With slide show to offer images of farm life, Danny and Ariana will tell of their shared week on the farm and do their part to add two more youth’s names to the growing community of attendees to the Quillisascut Farm School for Domestic Arts. Additionally, Danny has proposed that he and I work on planning day trips to farms in the Seattle area for the students he teaches at FareStart. FareStart is a nonprofit that helps homeless and disadvantaged individuals achieve self-sufficiency through life skills, job training and employment in the food service industry. Danny wants to somehow share his Quillisascut experience with his Seattle students who most likely have never seen a farm.
I could go on for many more pages about the powerful time that was shared with the students who formed the first group attending the Slow Food Youth Workshop this past August at the Quillisascut Farm. Much more could be said about the beauty of the land and generosity of
Lora Lea and Rick Misterly in opening their home to strangers and for giving us a glance at what they have learned from 30 years of farming. But the best thing would be for Slow Food members to join Danny, Ariana and me at FareStart on November 5th for dinner and conversation about our week on the Quillisascut Farm in Rice, Washington. We invite you to have dinner with us and learn more about the lessons learned on the farm that will help us support and form our own communities, from place based to food based and all in between.
Here are some links for further reading:
UW Urban Farm: