April 18, 2023

Elizabeth Hayes
360-966-5859 ext. 1027

New Farm Skill Series Opens in Whatcom County

Cloud Mountain Farm Center is a non-profit farm in Whatcom County dedicated to supporting a resilient, collaborative, and dynamic local food system. They are known as pillars of the agricultural and horticultural community through their on-site nursery and workshops. 

Cloud Mountain’s fruit growing workshops have been a mainstay of their outreach program, earning loyal customers and glowing reviews for accessible, hands-on, empowering education. Although Cloud Mountain excels in fruit production education, over the past three years staff and board have noticed a local need for a diverse workshop series empowering the community to build farm-based skills in other areas. 

The Community-Led Workshop series was developed in response to this need; throughout 2023, 23 workshops will highlight the unique expertise of agricultural professionals, makers, artists, chefs, and others who make the food, fiber, and floral world so special in Northwest Washington. 

As Elizabeth Hayes, Cloud Mountain Farm Center’s Director, says, “Our number one workshop priority in the coming seasons is to broaden the scope of on-farm education. We want to diversify the voices, skills, and experiences represented in agricultural, horticultural, and natural resource workshops offered to our community.”  

Hayes was inspired to offer a workshop series at Cloud Mountain after attending an on-farm Eco-Printing workshop with Grass Becomes a Wave Farm in 2022, led by first-year farmer Priscilla Watson. Watson will be teaching a Shibori Indigo dye course at Cloud Mountain, and farming her own plot on Whidbey Island this 2023 season.  

Cloud Mountain is excited to partner not only with new farmers, who often enter farming with tremendous experience in education and creative endeavors, but also with former interns, incubators, and staff now excelling and exploring in the food and farm world. 

The Community-Led Workshop calendar offers an array of courses including garden planning, basketry, herbalism, livestock processing, beekeeping, and more. These classes provide a comprehensive approach to learning about food and farming, incorporating hands-on skill development. thoughtful curriculum, and a deepened understanding of the local food system. 

These workshops offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity in Whatcom County: a chance to learn from flower farmers, aquaponics experts, shepherds, artists, chefs, and a wide variety of individuals who are deeply passionate about sharing their knowledge. Most courses are held at Cloud Mountain Farm Center, with some exceptions hosted off-site at partner farms. 

The first course is on April 30 – Nose-to-Tail Pork Cooking with Katie Pencke and Chef Curtis Pritz of Alluvial Farms. Following that, on May 7 you can learn how to Optimize Your Kitchen Garden with Hailey Lampe of Cruising Climate. This course will guide participants through optimizing their harvests using detailed crop planning, succession schedules, garden mapping, and end-of-season journaling. Next on May 27 is Tincture Making for Personal Use with Sonia Wollin of Living Earth Herbs. Participants will learn the how, why, and when of taking tinctures, and will make a tincture to take home. And on May 28, join Chef Ona Lee Weatherford of Clara’s Canning for Saving the Season with a Fruit Bearing Garden. Attendees will learn to preserve fruits from trees, shrubs, and plants in their season. 

Community-Led Workshops support and empower community members to develop their own skills, as well as celebrate the excellence of those who are contributing their expertise. Browse the full schedule of classes here and register today.




Photo of Priscilla Watson of Grass Becomes a Wave  

Thank you to our sponsors: Whatcom Community Foundation, Bellingham Farmers Market, Community Food Coop, FarmWild, Mt. Baker Care Center & Summit Place Assisted Living, Aslan Brewing Company, City of Bellingham, Katheryn Moran Photography, Heritage Bank, Whatcom County


        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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