Sustainable Connections CREATING THRIVING COMMUNITIES THROUGH INNOVATIVE IDEAS, COLLABORATION, AND ACTION. Wed, 17 Apr 2019 13:55:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sustainable Connections 32 32 Bellingham Technical College Fri, 29 Mar 2019 19:12:58 +0000 BTC Cafe Culinaire

Let Your Tastebuds Travel the World with BTC Culinary Students

April 2019


Many are familiar with Bellingham Technical College’s (BTC) Culinary Arts Program, but few know about the three distinct dining options on campus that serve both the public and our larger community. Turns out, BTC is a Bellingham gem that is serving affordable and delicious local fare for a good cause!

Every year, aspiring chefs and pastry artists sign up to pursue an Associates of Applied Science in Culinary Arts in order to gain the skills and training necessary to begin pursuing a culinary career. BTC’s program focuses on fine dining but also gives students a solid foundation where they learn how to cook almost everything from scratch: broths, breads, sauces, and more.  The degree hones student’s experience in all areas of restaurant life and requires them to host, serve, cook, and be the clean-up crew. Understanding food safety takes top priority, and business classes provide the nuts and bolts of how to run a kitchen and manage staff.


BTC Cafe Culinaire Bread


In addition, they do one more thing that is quite special, they work to provide students a holistic understanding of the food system. Instructors teach on diverse topics, everything from sustainable seafood to GMOs, and how and why you’d want to source locally.

Lessons are then taken from the classroom and into the kitchen, both at BTC and out in the real world where students intern with a variety of local food businesses. On campus, they offer three different dining venues that equip students with a wide variety of cooking experience: Winter International Buffets, Café Culinaire, and Café Culinaire To-Go. Instructors and head chefs Brian McDonald and Maria deCorpo took us on a tour of Café Culinaire below!


BTC Head Chefs Cafe Culinaire


Each spot highlights a different type of cuisine but they all prioritize sourcing fresh food from a number of local vendors including Nerka Salmon, Fresh Breeze Dairy, Ferndale Farmstead, and the Puget Sound Food Hub.

During Spring Quarter the college opens Café Culinaire Thursdays and Fridays, by reservation only. Class size dictates how many guests they can cook for but cook they do! The students that run the café are in their final quarter and practice bringing together everything they’ve learned to create an exquisite lunch experience. The Café aims to create a fine dining experience that focuses on Pacific Northwest cuisine. Some of the things you may see on the menu include cedar planked salmon, woodstone pizza, and pan Asian dishes that give a taste of the wonderful fusion cuisine our region is well known for. Watch students in the open exhibition kitchen as they craft each dish with passion and precision.


Cafe Culinaire Exhibition Kitchen Cafe Culinaire Salad


Reservations for Café Culinaire begin online April 4th and generally sell out fast! If you happen to miss the opportunity, there is another option! First-year students serve American regional cuisine from a window in the cafeteria Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 to 12:30. This fast, casual, and affordable lunch travels all around the United States: Baja fish tacos from California, BBQ from Kansas City and the Carolinas, Johnny cakes from New England, and Colorado lamb from the Rocky Mountains. The menu changes every week, so there is always something new and exciting. No need for reservations, all are welcome to head over whenever they’d like!


Cafe Culinaire Entree BTC Culinaire Students


Finally, for a mouthwatering Winter, travel the world with culinary students as they serve up international buffets every Friday in the Café Culinaire dining room. Each week the menu moves to a different part of the globe where students learn traditional techniques to create dishes that give as accurate a portrayal as possible of traditional fare from places such as the Mediterranean, East India, Italy, or Northern Europe. Each buffet showcases classic examples of the chosen cuisine. For example, the French buffet would include dishes like Quiche Lorraine and Beouf Bourguignon. They also serve handmade bread and desserts from each region, Crepe Suzette, and tarte Tatin for example. Reservations are needed for the International Buffets so keep your eyes on their website as we get closer to Winter Quarter (January 2020) for more information.

By dining with BTC you support the next generation of chefs and food enthusiasts. All tips go directly to the Culinary Club which supports scholarships and student events. This year some club funds will help students participate in the 2019 American Culinary Federation Culinary Competition on May 4-5! BTC will be hosting this prestigious event and competition will be open for public viewing. BTC student teams have the past honor of winning top awards in the state and have placed highly in regional competitions against schools throughout the West Coast. We hope to see you at Café Culinaire and at the ACF Competition! We are so lucky to have this incredible training program here in Bellingham, don’t miss out on opportunities to support it.


Bellingham Technical College
Campus Dining Webpage
Café Culinaire Phone: 360-752-8556
BTC Facebook Page


BTC Culinary Student Smile

Development & Communications Manager Thu, 28 Mar 2019 03:47:56 +0000 Company: Viva Farms

Closing Date: Open Until Filled

Twin Cedars Farm Wed, 27 Mar 2019 22:49:32 +0000 Twin-Cedars-Farm

A Family Farm that takes flavor…and sustainability…seriously

By Alex Smith
March 2019


As long as humans have existed, we’ve been looking for better food. At first we searched for berries that didn’t kill us (or animals that didn’t kill us). Then we started planting seeds from the plants that we liked the most. Since then we’ve been developing better crops at a blistering pace. But what defines “better”? In today’s world where food can literally come from anywhere in the world, many crops are grown for the ability to cross oceans without spoiling.

While this can be a benefit – strawberries in January can be a treat – it can also be detrimental. Crops bred for qualities like consistency and toughness are sometimes less tasty and nutritious than their more fragile cousins.




Luckily we live in a place where food is plentiful. Local sellers don’t need to worry about shipping products long distances so they can focus on growing the varieties that are the best for fresh eating. I had a chance to talk with Kevin and Briana Buck of Twin Cedars Farm on a sunny day about exactly this.

As we sat in the unseasonably warm sun, Kevin described their philosophy in choosing varieties. “We start with the seeds, and decide what to grow based on flavor and cooking performance,” he says. “From there it’s a matter of making sure the soil has the right nutrients to produce a good final product.”


Twin-Cedars-Garlic Twin-Cedars-Garlic-2


It’s not a matter of choosing the single variety that works best, either. They’ve scaled down to only 12 varieties of garlic. Some varieties are better for fresh eating, others for cooking. Some are so spicy that eating them fresh is like eating a pepper. Others are milder and great for roasting and eating with bread or a veggie. Some store well and can help get you through the long winter.

What’s unique about these two is their willingness to educate customers about these varietal differences. As Briana explains, “We live in a fast-paced world and don’t get to learn about our food. Learning about what we’re eating expands people’s minds.” Educating customers on different varieties provides information you might not even think to ask. The health benefits of garlic, the influence of soil microbes, and the laying cycle of chickens are just scratching the surface of what these two will talk to you about.



The reason that Kevin and Briana are so willing to educate customers is that they’re intensely passionate about the work they do. They cite many reasons for choosing to farm: the ability to be true to their values and ethics, access to healthy food, and most importantly getting to spend time with each other and their child on a daily basis.

Values are upheld in many and varied ways. The farm practices permaculture in some sections, a method that is rarely seen in production models. This style of growing uses natural features, animals, and minimal impact on the soil to create a healthy landscape and reduce environmental impacts across the board.

They re-use materials that other farms would just discard as scrap, too. When their greenhouse blew down in a wind storm, the metal hoops were so mangled that many farmers would have simply sent them off to be recycled. With the help of some good friends, they instead bent them into shape and made a netting structure so that their ducks and geese can enjoy the outdoors without fear of being attacked by an eagle.



Speaking of birds, I’d be seriously derelict in my duties if I didn’t mention the eggs produced by Twin Cedars. In order of size, they offer chicken, duck, and goose eggs and all are delicious. While the larger eggs are a novelty and certainly tasty, I tend to go for the plain old chicken eggs. Call me old fashioned. My favorite way to cook them is to fry them over medium, so the yolk is still runny but the whites are cooked. The slow ooze of the deep orange yolk, the thick creamy texture, and the buttery, rich flavor is hard to beat. Fair warning though: if you’re used to generic eggs from the grocery store, you’ll never be able to go back once you try these.




As we wrap up and their daughter gets shuttled from the playground to karate class, I’m left with a sense of true respect for these two. They’ve followed their values and taken a path that isn’t easy to navigate. Because they’re so devoted to doing things ethically, and because they spend so much time and effort learning how to do that, it takes the burden off of me. Instead of spending hours researching what organic regulations mean, or which farms are ecologically sound, or what the best type of squash is for a stir fry, I can just go to them. I’m likely to get more information than I need, but I know for sure I’ll get what I want. At least for me, that’s where I want to spend my money. If you do too, you can find Twin Cedars at the Saturday Bellingham Farmers Market!


Twin Cedars Farm
(360) 510 – 7262


]]> 2019-2020 AmeriCorps Food Educator and School Farmer Wed, 27 Mar 2019 21:43:26 +0000 Company: Common Threads

Closing Date:Open until filled

Make Your Shot Count! Wed, 27 Mar 2019 18:22:53 +0000

By Mark Peterson

It’s no secret that I get a lot of joy out of the game of soccer. There are so many facets to the “beautiful game” that keep me enthralled as a referee, a soccer parent, and fan. I love the fluidity of the game that flows with relatively few stops in play and no commercials. This makes it fun a fun sport to watch especially for those of us that are planners and don’t enjoy the ambiguity of game duration like American football or baseball. I also love the international aspect too. My team is the Seattle Sounders and their starters hail from all over the world – USA, Sweden, Uruguay, Suriname, Peru, South Korea and Spain. Recently, I found even more joy from the game especially since the Seattle Sounders are leading the charge.

Two years ago we had the distinct pleasure of having Kevin Wilhelm of Sustainable Business Consulting as our keynote speaker for the Smart Business Summit. Turns out he is a big Sounders fan too and he mentioned somewhat coyly that he does a bit of work with the Sounders. Well, it turns out this “bit of work” was to help the Sounders organization be one of the most sustainable clubs in all of soccer.

The Seattle Sounders are now the first carbon neutral soccer club in North America. “We’re incredibly excited to announce that our club is officially carbon neutral,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “The Sounders have always been committed to investing in our community, and that includes recognizing the immense responsibility we have as environmental stewards. Sustainability is a key pillar of our club and this new step is a logical extension of the efforts we have already had in place. We were pleased to work with Sustainable Business Consulting and Forterra in achieving carbon neutrality and look forward to continuing our partnership going forward.”

This accomplishment makes me happy to be a Sounders fan and in fact, some of the conversations I had with Kevin made me wonder what we may be able to do here locally. Phillips 66 Soccer Park in Ferndale, WA is a first class facility which is operated by Whatcom Sports & Recreation and also happens to be one of the most used athletic facilities in Whatcom County.  We were thrilled when Whatcom Sports & Recreation was equally enthusiastic as we were for helping to make their venue more sustainable. With some ideas in mind we applied and were awarded a Waste Reduction and Recycling Education Grant from the Washington Department of Ecology to help make our local soccer park a Toward Zero Waste facility.

As a result of the grant, we were able to provide new color-coded waste bins that will be labeled in both English and Spanish, additional Toward Zero Waste signage, and banners to help soccer park attendees find the centralized waste stations. Another key facet of this effort is the educational campaign encouraging soccer park attendees to “Make Your Shot Count” and to learn and understand the reasons why waste stream contamination and wishful recycling hamper efforts to divert waste from landfill. Depositing your waste in the appropriate bin helps make your shot count and achieve the goal of increasing recycling and reducing waste!

As the spring recreational soccer season gears up in mid-April we will be back out at the soccer park with our educational booth, fun sorting games to play and informational materials. Due to an unfortunate act of arson and a fire that destroyed the club and referee offices they are in rebuilding mode. Soon a new building will be going up that will be more energy efficient and provide better amenities. We would like to thank Whatcom Sports & Recreation for being a willing partner in efforts to reduce the impact of their facility and become the first Toward Zero Waste outdoor athletic venue in Whatcom County.

Food & Farming Communications Intern Wed, 27 Mar 2019 17:33:06 +0000 Company: Sustainable Connections

Closing Date: Open until filled

Food & Farming Community Outreach Intern Wed, 27 Mar 2019 17:28:45 +0000 Company: Sustainable Connections

Closing Date: Open until filled

Development & Communications Manager Mon, 25 Mar 2019 18:15:44 +0000 Company: Viva Farms

Closing Date:04/15/2019

Appliance Depot Program Manager Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:11:44 +0000 Company: ReUse Works:  Appliance Depot

Closing Date:3/27/2019 at Midnight

Retail Sales Wed, 20 Mar 2019 15:42:25 +0000 Company: Earl’s Bike Shop

Closing Date: Open until filled