Editor, Islands’ Sounder
One of the passionate motivations for the FEAST coordinators – Rusty Diggs, her husband Christopher Evans, and Whitney Hartzell – is that “teenagers are a population that’s counted out right from the start. People have told us, ‘It sounds great, but you’ll never get kids interested in participating – especially not in the summertime.’
“Now, they’re begging to be part of the process of finding solutions. They’re learning about it in school but never about how they can be part of the process. FEAST teaches practical solutions.
And it blows away our senior citizens that kids are interested in being re-introduced to the island’s agricultural heritage.
It’s not a new education; it’s returning to what works.”
The FEAST project is revived from Christopher Evans 2001 program, started with the support of the FunHouse. Back then, Evans traveled to Oregon to learn more about sustainable farming, where he met Rusty Diggs at the Aprovecho project, an alternative education center in gardening, forestry and appropriate technologies. In 2004, Diggs and Evans and moved to Orcas.
Hartzell came forward to coordinate the program this year. She and Owen Cheevers moved to Orcas three years ago and have been active in sustainability projects. Hartzell taught teenagers in Mexico for 10 years in programs similar to FEAST.
Fourteen teenagers have applied to be part of the program this year. “There is an awarness that we need to work together,” said Evans. In addition to the core group of teens, other students will come for parts of the course. Students will plant in the central garden Eastsound location and at other farms on the island.
FEAST is rising to the challenges facing our whole society, providing answers for our society, part of a broader movement on Orcas island to preserve our resources and to build the local economy,” says Evans
For more information, contact the Orcas Island Recreation Program at 376-5339 or www.orcasrec.org.