New season of farmers market kicks off Saturday

April 18, 2014

NEW — Noon April 18, 2014

Opening day for the Issaquah Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 19 at the Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave. N.W.

On the first day will be Earth Day celebrations.

Some of the organizations participating this year include Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Tilth, Issaquah Garden Club, Friends of Salmon Hatchery, Master Recycler Composter Eastside Program, Cleanscapes, Bike Pedestrian Outreach and the King County Master Gardeners.

The market is Saturdays through Oct. 11. Visitors can buy fresh produce and flowers, purchase unique gifts from a variety of vendors and taste different types of foods.

Learn more here.

Recycled crayon business embodies Earth Day message

April 15, 2014

Local mom Regan Wong found a nifty way to repurpose the contents of that long forgotten box, tucked away in a closet, filled to the brim with broken, sometimes wrapperless crayons.

The vibrant coloring tools undoubtedly lived a life of usefulness at one point, but rather than letting them sit on a shelf reminiscing about the good old days of elementary school, or letting them rot in a landfill, Wong is turning them in to something environmentally friendly and beautiful.

Wacky Crayons takes used crayons, melts them down and, using food-grade molds, crafts new, multicolored drawing tools in various shapes and sizes.

Mike and Leah Wong, children of Wacky Crayons creator Regan Wong, lend a helping hand as they make the unconventional drawing tool in the family’s garage. At left, Wacky Crayons come in fully compostable packaging and include a variety of shapes, from flowers to the Millennium Falcon. Photos By Christina Corrales-Toy

Mike and Leah Wong, children of Wacky Crayons creator Regan Wong, lend a helping hand as they make the unconventional drawing tool in the family’s garage.
Photo contributed

“We didn’t invent this, but we’re sort of perfecting it along the way,” Wong said.

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Seattle Tilth hosts master recycler composter class

August 20, 2013

Seattle Tilth is accepting applications for its Master Recycler Composter Eastside program. Held every Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 4-28, the sessions will teach participants how to help make their community more sustainable.

To qualify for the program, participants must be 18 or older and be available to attend all sessions, according to Falaah Jones, the eastside programs coordinator for Seattle Tilth. The time commitment for the program is about 26 hours of instruction, followed by a 20-hour independent community outreach project. After completing the project, Seattle Tilth will refund the $20 program fee.

The first session was held last year, so the program is still new, but the reception was positive.

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Issaquah History Museums dishes up historic desserts for 40th anniversary

October 9, 2012

To celebrate a major milestone, Issaquah History Museums organizers ordered cake — enough cake to stock a bakery.

The museums, founded in 1972 as the Issaquah Historical Society, marks 40 years Oct. 13 and to celebrate, staffers enlisted organizations and volunteers to create the cakes, but rather than the from-the-box Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines confections, bakers agreed to follow recipes lifted from Issaquah’s past.

The community celebration offers participants a chance to sample the cakes, learn about the museums’ history, dance and listen to local musicians perform. Bakers agreed to make a pair of cakes — a cake for eating at the event and another cake for a silent auction.

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Japanese students travel 5,700 miles to volunteer in Pickering Garden

August 7, 2012

Falaah Jones (right), garden coordinator from Seattle Tilth, teaches visiting Japanese students about gardening at the city’s Pickering Garden on July 27. Contributed

The Pickering Garden had some unique visitors July 27, more than 20 students from Okinawa, Japan.

The students are part of a summer homestay program through Cultural Homestay International. They will spend one month with host families exploring the Puget Sound area. On their third day, they volunteered at the Pickering Garden with Falaah Jones, garden coordinator from Seattle Tilth. It was the students’ first visit to the United States.

Risa Kamiya and Showei Mori said they like the forest, trees and mountains covered with snow, something they have never seen before. Host families have one or two students in their home at a time.

“Everyone learns,” tour coordinator Cathy Kramer said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The Japanese students didn’t know each other before the trip but Kramer said they made friends very quickly. Each day, the students have three-hour classes to learn about English and culture.

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Seattle Tilth seeks volunteers for Pickering Barn garden

June 15, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 15, 2012

Seattle Tilth is searching for volunteers to tend the community garden at Pickering Barn.

Organizers plan to a host a family workday in the garden on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The garden is located on the Pickering Barn grounds, 1730 10th Ave. N.W. On Saturday, Seattle Tilth needs volunteers to make and plant seed tapes, scavenger hunt, weed and feed chickens and dig in the soil.

The organization also needs volunteers for harvest parties, work parties and other tasks. Find opportunities from Seattle Tilth at http://seattletilth.org/get-involved/volunteer/volunteering-in-issaquah.

Gardeners donate fresh produce to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Pickering Barn garden gets $19,000 grant for upgrade

February 14, 2012

The city has received a $19,000 grant from the King Conservation District to improve the Pickering Barn Demonstration Garden — a showcase for organic gardening and a source for the local food bank.

In addition to garden upgrades, officials intend to use grant dollars to improve the site and add more educational components. Seattle Tilth, a regional leader in sustainable organic gardening and public education in natural yard care practices, oversees the garden’s education component.

Plans call for the expanded education component to operate alongside the Issaquah School District and the municipal Parks & Recreation Department. The school district program aims to provide in-classroom teaching, teacher training and transportation for schoolchildren from campuses to the garden. The program through the parks department calls for classes in the garden for after-school community programs. The grant is meant to help transport children to the garden for the program.

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King County’s Food Day mission focuses on affordability, sustainability

October 21, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 21, 2011

In King County, Food Day is about bringing together parents, teachers, students, health professionals, chefs, school lunch providers and others to advocate for affordable and sustainable foods.

Food Day is Oct. 24, and King County health officials plan a series of events to highlight local foods, access to healthy foods and childhood-obesity prevention.

“Local organizations, schools, leaders and residents are mobilizing for Food Day to expand access to healthy food and curb access to junk food,” Dr. David Fleming, Public Health – Seattle & King County director and health officer, and a Food Day national advisory board member, said in a statement. “We are aiming for long-term improvements so all of our residents have access to healthy options and ultimately good health.”

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Pickering Barn volunteer garden showcases drip watering system

August 23, 2011

“We’re not just growing food, we’re trying to educate,” said Faalah Jones, of Seattle Tilth.

Water resources manager for the Cascade Water Alliance, Michael Brent, agreed.

“We’re just trying to show the potential of a few things,” he said.

Manager of the Issaquah Resource Conservation Office, David Fujimoto said much the same.

“It’s kind of a learning garden,” he said.

All three were referring to a large public garden alongside Pickering Barn on 10th Avenue Northwest in Issaquah.

While it is maintained almost exclusively by volunteers, the nonprofit organization Seattle Tilth oversees the garden. The latest project in the garden is a new drip irrigation system being installed by the city and the water alliance, Brent said.

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Off the Press

July 12, 2011

Slugs ooze to finish at slimy sprint

Laura Geggel Press reporter

I found the slug underneath a garden pot housing a lemon-scented geranium. The slimy hermaphrodite didn’t stand a chance. I scooped it up in a Tupperware container filled with damp leaves and dirt, and left it outside on my porch where it would stay cool during the night.

The next day, I brought it to Issaquah’s annual Down Home Fourth of July slug race. Jenna Powell, an 11-year-old from Tennessee who was visiting her Sammamish cousin, crowded around the racetrack with the other children, trying to get a better view of the slugs.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she said. “I’ve seen duck, frog and turtle races, but not a slug race.”

Before the competition, children presented their gastropod mollusks for the traditional beauty pageant — several slugs wore paper crowns and conical princess hats (all were winners, Salmon Days Festival organizer and slug race referee Robin Kelley said).

It was a hot day to race, let alone to be a slug, but all eight of them revved up their slime machines the moment they were placed on the circular racetrack.

The first slug to reach the outer circle of the target sign won, and that honor fell on Slimy, a leopard slug uncovered by Clark Elementary School student Hannah Prouty, who went slug hunting by her playhouse.

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