Arts and Entertainment

‘Feeding ourselves’ Vashon College’s new lecture series explores local food production

Vashon College, responding to Islanders’ growing interest in local foods and mounting concerns about oil prices, will offer a new lecture series focused on local food production, featuring talks by some of the Island’s most well-known farmers and food specialists.

Called “Feeding Ourselves,” the series is the first in what organizers call “The Sustainability Series: The care and feeding of Vashon.” The series of six lectures begins July 16 and runs until Sept. 17.

Presenters will focus on the history and traditions of their endeavors, the tools and techniques they use, the costs involved and the resources available to help Islanders grow their own food or connect with others who can do this for them.

The series begins with a lecture by naturalist and ethnobotanist Erin Kenny, whose talk is titled “Wild Edibles: Foraging, identification, seasonality and safety.” The lecture will be held at Kenny’s Camp Terra, where she also runs a nature camp for children.

On July 23, attendees will be transported to Plum Forest Farm, where Rob Peterson and Joanne Jewell will present “The Seasonal Garden,” demonstrating that food gardening is not just a summer event.

Those who have always wanted to raise chickens, ducks and other farm animals will likely enjoy Karen Biondo’s talk, “Raising Small Livestock,” on Aug. 6. The talk will be held at K-Jo Farm, which Biondo owns with Joe Walling, in Paradise Valley.

Kelsey Kozak, a recent high school graduate whose skills as a cheese-maker were featured in The Seattle Times, will discuss and demonstrate her craft at her Aug. 20 lecture. Kozak, who is heading to the Culinary Institute of America in October, makes soft to hard cheeses, including ricotta, feta and marscapone, with milk from her own Jersey cows.

Then, on Sept. 3, Jessica Dally of Seattle, a certified master canner and food preserver who works for Washington State University Extension Service, will visit Vashon to present a class called “Preserving the Harvest.” The class will take place at the Vashon Presbyterian Church.

The lecture series will conclude with a talk by Elizabeth Vogt on beekeeping. Vogt, an expert beekeeper, has a doctorate in entomology, examines honeybee parasites and pathogens by way of her Honeybee Diagnostic Service and is active in the Puget Sound Beekeepers Assocation.

For October, the college is planning a bonus lecture by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, the authors of “Plenty: Eating Locally on the 100 Mile Diet.” The book is the featured selection for Vashon College’s program, Vashon Reads 2008. The date, time and location will be announced later.

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