(Compiled by Shannon Maris/Garden E-News, Koelle Bodhi and Jeffrey Westcott)

Thank you for attending and supporting another wonderful seed swap in late January. Your donations will ensure that we can hold this event in 2016. I was thinking of all the many, many people that I wanted to thank in this newsletter for making this event so successful. But then I realized that I would have missed a few names of people that played a really big part and then I would have felt pretty bad. All I can say is Thank You to all of you who supported this event on in any way that you did.

But spring, I’ve been told, is arriving about three weeks ahead of schedule. Peas are usually the first things to go in the ground, so here’s an interesting link I gleaned from the Whatcom County Gardeners page on Facebook. (Thanks Millard S.)

“…you can plant Pea seeds outside when soil temps are 40 degrees. Germination can take a month or more at 40. Most texts recommend planting them when soil temps hit 50 because germination is only 10 to 14 days at 50 (9 days at 60, but it takes forever for our soils to get to 60). Plant them in well drained soil or they rot. Peas can take a medium frost in spring. Or, start them indoors 10 to 14 days before the last spring frost and then transplant them. Here is a nice document on growing peas in Washington..”

And Roving Gardens Parties are right around the corner too! Jean Kroll will be organizing these again this year (thanks Jean!). If you’ve never hosted a Roving Garden Party before, please contact me and I can pas your information on to Jean. We ask that we only work with edibles too: raised beds, planting fruit trees, veggies and tubers, etc. We are expected to begin Tuesday, April 1st., maybe sooner. Stay tuned, and please come and lend a hand this year or consider hosting one.

We will come and garden for ninety minutes at your place, and then you feed us. The crowd is usually 10-20 people, depending upon the weather, location, and a thousand other factors. It is a great way to meet wonderful people in the gardening community.

Here are some other upcoming events listed on the Sustainable Bellingham calendar…
(click here to list your event)

Fourth Corner Exchange New Member Meeting
Sunday January 25th, 4-5pm, Food Coop Connections 1220 N Forest St, B’ham

Take this opportunity to find out how our members use Life Dollars to exchange goods and services with one another within a cooperative economy. You will learn how our cooperative economy works and have the opportunity to have your questions answered. Come and join others in creating the New Cooperative Economy in the Pacific Northwest (including Canada).

AIA NW Washington 2015 Design Awards
Friday, February 20th 7-9:30pm, B’ham Cruise Terminal, 355 
Harris Ave. B’ham

The 2015 Northwest Washington AIA Design Awards celebrates the best architectural designs available from Architects in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Island Counties. These projects represent the finest standards in sustainability, innovation, building performance and overall integration with the client and surrounding community.

Spring 2015 Work Party Schedule
Come join NSEA and help restore streamside habitat for salmon. We’ll bring the tools and gloves – just wear sturdy shoes, long pants and weather appropriate clothing. Check in at the blue NSEA tent. All ages are welcome, children under 18 will need an adult to sign registration form at check-in. Volunteers do not need to sign up with NSEA before a work party. We’ll see you at the creek!

3//7 – Deer Creek

3/14 – Smith Creek

3/28 – Squaw Creek

4/4 – Padden Creek

4/11 – Lower Landingstrip Creek

4/28 – Whatcom Creek

5/1 – NSEA Nursery

5/30 – Little Squalicum

And some other community events going on this in the near future…

15th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Thursday, February 19
th through Saturday, February 28th, Various Locations throughout B’ham

Opens February 19, presenting quality films on local and global issues,including climate change, farmworkers’ rights, and small scale agriculture.

Workshop: Pruning Fruit Trees

Sunday Feb 22nd, 12-2pm, The Caretaker’s House, 107 Chuckanut Drive. Fairhaven

Demonstrated by Shawn from Cloud Mountain Farm Center. Come learn the basics of fruit tree pruning on fruit trees in our 3 year old orchard in Fairhaven! Rain or shine. Donations are welcomed.
 Located on the north end of the site – The Old Fairhaven Rose Garden. Info: Lynn Loveland 927-1398.

San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit 2015

Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th
Keynote Speakers: food writer Gary Nabhan, and Thor Hanson, award-winning author of The Triumph of Seeds Food-lovers, farmers, regional experts, chefs and local food and farm advocates will gather for two days of education, inspiration, and camaraderie. Questions? Call 370-7664, 370-7666 or email summit@sjcarc.org

And some other interesting tidbits of information …

To Do This Month in the Garden
In late February, you can begin sowing for spring and summer. By trapping the heat of the sun, cloche’, hoop house or cold frame gardening effectively moves the inside growing space about 1.5 hardiness zones further south, allowing you to plant cold-tolerant crops, such as spinach and broccoli, a month or so earlier in the spring. (Or, you can wait to get lovely starts from local producers like Joe’s Garden and the Master Gardeners’ Plant Sale in May.)

* Direct seed hardy annuals such as alyssum, Johnny Jump Ups, Larkspur, Toad Flax, Love in a Mist, Forget-Me-Nots, Shirley Poppies

* Plant cloves, bulbs, sets: garlic, onion, shallots

* Plant peas, fava beans, and radishes

* Under cloche, plant: cilantro, spinach, mustard, oriental greens, and lettuces

* Plant indoors, starts to be planted out in April, May or June:

tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, broccoli, asparagus, leeks, onions, chives, parsley

* Prune Fruit Trees and Berries

* Plant Bareroot Fruit Trees

Fields of Gold: GMO-Free Crops Prove Lucrative for Farmers
From the Wall Street Journal, off all places…
Last spring, for the first time in 20 years, Indiana farmer Jim Benham planted his fields entirely with soybean seeds that hadn’t been genetically modified to withstand herbicides. It wasn’t because the 63-year-old suddenly had embraced the anti-GMO movement. Instead, he was drawn to a nearly 14% per-bushel premium for non-GMO soybeans offered by a local grain terminal, which sells them to Asian feed processors.

Running on Renewable Energy, Burlington, Vermont Powers Green Movement Forward
Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone in the growing green energy movement. NewsHour’s William Brangham reports on the implications for the country’s green movement.

10 Easy DIY Free Greenhouse Plans
A DIY greenhouse can be the perfect solution, both in terms of costs and complexity. We found a nice collection of plans as well as tutorials on how to make your very own DIY greenhouse. Just follow the steps of your preferred design (there are plenty of designs, for any personality and setting) and you will be taking care after your plants in mid-November without any worries.

Sunday Vegetarian Strata
Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1/2 pound ground vegetarian breakfast sausage

– 2 cups chopped onion

– 2 cloves garlic, mince
– 1 1/2 cups diced red bell pepper

– 6 cups cubed whole-wheat country bread
– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

– 12 large eggs
– 2 cups 1% milk
– 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
– freshly ground black pepper to taste


–   Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the vegetarian sausage. Cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly, and evenly browned. Stir in the onion, garlic, and bell pepper; cook and stir until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

–   Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange bread in an even layer in the prepared baking dish. Scatter the sausage mixture on top. Brush with the Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with cheese. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, and pour over the cheese. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

–   Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove strata from the refrigerator, and unwrap.
–   Bake in the preheated oven until puffed, lightly browned, and the center is set, 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving..


January 25, 2015

Sunday, January 25th , 2:30-5pm
The Majestic – 1027 N
orth Forest Street, Bellingham

This event is entirely funded by donations of you, the attendees, and the support of local food sponsors and seed companies. It is 100% volunteer.

Doors Open to Public 2:30-5pm (setup 1:15pm; clean-up 5pm)


Thank you to the Seed and Feed Donors! Without you this event would not have happened.

Seed Donors Include:
* Baker Creek Heirloom Rare Seeds
* Irish Eyes Seeds
* Uprising Organic Seeds
* Salish Seed Savers Coop
* Center for Local Self-Reliance!

Food Donors Include:
* Cash & Carry
* Community Food Coop
* Terra Organica Natural Foods
* Living Earth Herbs
* Bellingham Flatbread & Bakery
* Great Harvest Bread Co.
* Avenue Bread
* Appel Farms
* Golden Glen Creamery
* Samish Bay Cheese


(Compiled by Shannon Maris/Garden E-News and Jeffrey Westcott)

Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds
Tuesday, January 20th, 6:30pm, The Limelight on Cornwall (map)
Tomorrow night. Seed Swap movie Open Sesame at the Limelight. I will be there, and hope you are too. This movie benefits the Seed Swap (see below). My mantra has always been that you do not necessarily need to save seeds, but you do need to know how to save seeds.

Seventh Annual Seed Swap – January 25th
Sunday, January 25th, 2:30pm, The Majestic 1027 North Forest St. (map)
Sunday is the day. What started as a small swap seven years ago has turned into a little bit bigger event, with better food and the many familiar faces and smiles. Introduce yourself to the person standing next to you. Developing food sovereignty begins here, and you’ll meet wonderful people, nonetheless.

Those with seeds or other things to set up: please show up at one o’clock.

Volunteers: We need volunteers. Please show up at The Majestic Sunday at twelve-thirty. The code word is Cheetah.

Here are some other upcoming events…

Wool Felting
Saturday, January 24th, 10am-2pm, Harmony Fields, Bow
Come out to the farm and make your own mittens, slippers or booties with teacher Elizabeth Moncrief. Use wool from our farm sheep.

Demystifying Food Forests
Saturday, Jan. 24th, 11am-noon,cChristianson’s Nursery,15806 Best Road, Mt. Vernon
Join Certified Sustainable Landscape designer Zsofia Pasztor in how to transform a landscape into beautiful and productive layered perennial food garden. Reservations required. $8 class fee. Info: 360-466-3821

Foothills Community Seed Exchange
Saturday, Jan. 24th, 4pm, Van Zandt Hall, 4106 State Route 9, Deming
Hosted by Local Food Works at the Van Zandt Hall, Exchange starts at, 4pm, a potluck will begin at 5pm Bring seeds, a potluck dish, and gardening knowledge, resources and stories to share.  Another seed swap…yay!

Bellingham Public Library Skill Share Classes: Rain Barrel Construction
Saturday, January 24th, 3:30pm, Bellingham Public Library (map)
Join presenter Brad Walters as he demonstrates and discusses how to prepare, assemble and maintain a rain barrel. For more information, contact Jenni Johnson at jjohnson@cob.org or 360-778-7217.

“The Way I See it” with Temple Grandin
Friday, January 30th, 7pm, Everett Civic Auditorium, 2415 Colby Ave., Everett
Grandin is an American doctor of animal science, professor at Colorado State University, best-selling author, autism activist, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. Tickets are $25.

Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool
Saturday, Jan. 31st, Stanwood High School, 7400 272nd Street Northwest, Stanwood
More than 185 workshops to choose from focused on skills and practical living. Registration costs $70 for adults and $40 for youth with a discounted rate of $10 for the first 200 youth ages 12-18 needing scholarship help. Registration includes five workshops per person, large trade show to meet with agricultural and business vendors, lunch, and snacks. For more information, call Skagit County Extension at (360) 428-4270.

And some other interesting tidbits of information …

NASA Has Released The Largest Picture Ever Taken And It Will Shake Up Your Universe
Turn the lights out, put your headphones on, and watch this video. And then watch it again. That’s what I just did.

In 10 Years, No One In Helsinki Will Even Want to Own a Car: 3 Simple Ideas That Are Making Cities Sustainable
An app that combines the affordability of ride sharing with the reliability of taxis. Playgrounds built as sponges for reusable greywater. From Finland to California, the cities of the future are here.

5 Of The Best Thirty Second Relaxation Practices
Value your time, by appreciating the huge potential your next 30 seconds has.  I regularly add thirty second breaks into my day to stop, breath, soften my body and adjust my thinking.  It’s a very simple way to add lots of little healthy  relaxation practices into the day.

Video: We Are All Seeds
In her inspiring New Year’s message, Vandana Shiva explains that while we face many crises—the crises of war and violence, of hunger and destruction, and of the destruction of our democracy—we also hold the solution to all of these crises.

The solutions, she says, can be found in the seed and in the soil. And in us, because we are all seeds. And we are on the verge of fulfilling our collective potential. Where will those solutions not be found?

Hearty Vegetable Stew
A classic vegan slow cooker stew filled with delicious root vegetables such as yams, potatoes, turnips and carrots is just what you need on those cold, drizzly days. This recipe makes great leftovers for a healthy lunch and is perfect for serving at a winter potluck.

(Compiled by Shannon Maris/Garden E-News and Jeffrey Westcott)

The Seed Swap is scheduled for January 25th this year, the last Sunday in January. If you are interested in helping out – from planning to whole thing, to just showing up for a few hours on the day of the event – let me know and I will pass your name on to the volunteer coordinator.

There is an evolving movement regarding hemp production in Whatcom County. If you know anything about the benefits of hemp (its fibers, oils, other attributes…) then you will understand that it has tremendous upside potential when ultimately adopted by industry and agriculture.

Sustainable Bellingham would like to organize some form of consortium here to assess the resources and viability of stimulating hemp production in the region. We would like to hold an informal meeting of the prospects hemp-related agricultural activity in Whatcom County and beyond. More information is forthcoming, but an early December informal meeting will be held (drinks, snacks, etc.) be informal meeting, while a subsequent meeting will be scheduled at a later date allowing those to speak that have any interest in hemp production.

If you know anyone interest in hemp, please have them contact us atinfo@sustainablebellingham.org. This may evolve into something interesting. Or not. Stay tuned.

And here are some other upcoming events …

20th Annual Master Gardener Advanced training
Friday, October 31st8:30am-3:30pm, St. Luke’s Community Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway, B’ham This full day training is geared toward Master Gardeners of Whatcom & Skagit county and is open to the public. Regional experts will cover advanced education topics such as; backyard bees, composting, rain gardens, watershed protection, healthy gardening practices for people & environment, plant pathology, natives, beans & youth education.

NSEA Work Party-Squalicum Creek
Saturday, November 1st, 9am-12 noon, Meet at Cornwall Park, off Meridian St. 
Join NSEA and Woodway Senior Living for a day of native tree planting, mulching and invasive plant removal along Squalicum Creek. Look for NSEA signs and shuttle.

Filming for Verite – Workshop at The Documentary Center
Saturday, November 1st12 noon-2pmThe Documentary Center at The Makeshift, 306 Flora St, B’ham
Verite is a French word meaning truth. Verite style filming for documentary captures life as it is actually unfolding in front of the camera. In this workshop we will be looking at examples of documentary verite and learning how to capture these moments in real time.

2 PacNW Authors, 2 Different Books & One Book Reading: EXODUS 2022 and PARADISE ROT
Saturday, November 1st4-5pmVillage Books, 11th Street, Fairhaven
Two Bainbridge Island authors, Kenneth G. Bennett and Larry Weiner, will be at a reading event at Village Books in Bellingham, WA on Sat., Nov. 1 at 4pm in the Readings Gallery.
Kirkus Reviews said of this eco, scifi speculative fiction set in the Pacific NW, EXODUS 2022, “Bennett, after a neat Dean Koontz-style curtain raiser, keeps raising the stakes… Deft storytelling and a riptide of action propel this cataclysmic narrative.”
Larry Weiner is the self-published author of Paradise Rot and Once Again with Blood (satirical zombie speculative fiction that opens in Seattle)

Joel Salatin, Rock Star Farmer – Coming to Langley, BC
Saturday, Nov 8th, starts at 8:30am, Langley Events Centre, Langley, BC
The rock star farmer will be the keynote speaker at a Langley workshop about the future of food and farming. The event is hosted by the Langley Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (LSAF) and will also feature two local farmers — Chris Bodnar of Close to Home Organics at Glen Valley Organic Farm, and Julia Smith of Urban Digs. LSAF was “overwhelmed” by the response to their last workshop from young farmers, second-career farmers and acreage owners, said Taylor. Salatin hopes to speak on “nook and cranny farming,” as well as integrated food systems.

NSEA Work Party-Canyon Creek
Saturday, November 8th, 9am-12 noon, Directions Below
Come out and help NSEA, Whatcom Land Trust, Whatcom Conservation District and Whatcom Public Works improve salmon habitat by planting native trees and shrubs at this incredible site! From Bellingham head east on WA-542 E/Mt Baker Hwy past the town of Maple Falls. Turn left on Glacier Springs Drive and look for the NSEA signs

Filming for Interview – Workshop at The Documentary Center
Saturday, November 8th12 noon-2pmThe Documentary Center at The Makeshift, 306 Flora St, B’ham
Documentary interview content is often the primary engine that runs a successful documentary narrative. In this workshop we will be looking at examples of documentary interview and learning how to conduct and film interview for documentary.

How to Understand the Mind – Book Talk
Saturday, November 8th4-5pmVillage Books, 11th Street, Fairhaven
What is our mind? From the Buddhist point of view, the mind is the source of all happiness and has unlimited potential. In his book, “How to Understand the Mind” Geshe Kelsang Gyatso presents and explains Buddha’s view of the mind. This 2,500 year-old wisdom is still very much applicable today, and provides practical insight into how to increase our happiness, inner peace, and quality of life. This beautiful explanation designed as a guide for practitioners of meditation, also encompasses philosophy, phenomenology and psychology. Speaker: James Lane has been a practitioner of New Kadampa Buddhism since 2006.

Bob Simmons, Reading From the Late Greg Palmer’s book, Cheese Deluxe: A Memoir
Sunday, November 9th4-5pmVillage Books, 11th Street, Fairhaven
Cheese Deluxe: A Memoir is a lively collection of mostly true tales about a group of Mercer Island high-school seniors during their last summer together in the mid-1960s. The center of their world is the Samoa Drive-In, a classic teen hangout and purveyor of the Cheese Deluxe, the world’s best burger.

Here are some other interesting tidbits of information…

How to Harvest and Store Winter Squash 
Pumpkins and their kin, the winter squashes, take months to mature. Don’t rush the process; a squash’s hard, protective skin develops with time. If you’re growing them for storage, wait until the vines begin to dry and the rinds have toughened before harvesting. To test for maturity, press a thumbnail against the skin; your nail shouldn’t leave a visible dent.

Small-Scale Traditional Farming Is the Only Way to Avoid Food Crisis, UN Researcher Says 
New scientific research increasingly shows how “agroecology” offers environmentally sustainable methods that can meet the rapidly growing demand for food. And two quotes from this article:
“We are being far too kind to industrialized agriculture. The private sector has endorsed it, but it has failed to feed the world, it has contributed to major environmental contamination and misuse of natural resources. It’s time we switched more attention, public funds and policy measures to agroecology, to replace the old model as soon as possible.”
– David Fig, who serves on the board of Biowatch South Africa, an NGO concerned with food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture
“Agroecology is related to the way you relate to land, to nature to each other—it is more than just organic production, it is a sustainable livelihood.”
– Sergio Sauer, formerly Brazil’s national rapporteur for human rights in land, territory and food

Fall Garden Cleanup
Before putting all your gardening tools away for the year, take an afternoon this fall and clean up the vegetable garden. Removing garden debris, including dead plant material and rotted vegetables, will help to reduce disease and insect problems next year. The time spent now cleaning up the garden, will be well worth it next summer.

Discovering an Oasis in the American Desert
The system was created 80 years ago. Built during the Roosevelt era, with horse and cart during the Great Depression it remained lost and forgotten for 80 Years! Now thanks to Google Earth imagining, Geoff Lawton tracked it down and discovered a forgotten swale system that was designed to passively harvest water and build soil – without human assistance. We could re-green a lot of deserts this way and plant an oasis of productive fruit trees. Find out how they did it!

Three Cows Supply Enough Cooking Gas to Suit a Family of Six People
This dairy is designed to capture all the manure (including human manure) and direct it to an underground chamber where methane gas is fermented. Excess manure is then directed to his vegetable garden or through his a reed bed filtration system.

25 Best Vegetarian Recipes
’nuff said. (Thanks Jenn for the link!)

Kale Walnut Pesto
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
* coarse salt
* 2 cups kale leave
* 3 parsley sprigs
* 4 basil leaves
* juice of 1/2 lime
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* Romano cheese, optional
Place garlic in food processor, pulse until chopped. Add walnuts, pules a couple times. Add salt, kale, parsley, basil and lime juice. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil, pulse until incorporated. Stir in cheese. Stir pesto into hot pasta with cheese and a bit of cooking water.