This year we expanded our culinary training beyond the classroom to outside in the glorious garden! With the creation of our new gardens at the Living Light Inn and the Grey Whale Inn, we now include hands-on workshops teaching soil fertility, gardening techniques and ‘seed-to-table’ skills that encourage the best in optimal nutrition. We partnered with local expert/ educator, Sakina Bush, to share her wisdom and experience with our students.
Sakina was a high school teacher for 20 years and became passionate about gardening after taking a Permaculture Design course in the late 90’s. Her first project was a xeriscape design project for a small high school in the high desert of Taos, New Mexico. In 2006 she completed a Master Gardener training and worked as the garden manager for the Noyo Food Forest here on the Mendocino Coast. The Noyo Food Forest, a local non-profit that provides opportunities for youth and community to learn about, grow and access garden fresh food, has created and tended several community food gardens, established pilot programs providing fresh foods to Fort Bragg Unified School District cafeterias and created social enterprise projects supporting and promoting local food sovereignty and independence.
At the the Noyo Food Forest, Sakina helped start their Farm-to School program and taught organic gardening to adults and high school students through the Mendocino County Office of Education. By 2012, Sakina had started her own market garden and nursery. She returned to teaching after receiving a grant to offer organic gardening classes though the Mendocino Community Center and when Living Light invited her to share her expertise with our students in the “Cooked Raw Fusion” course.
“I consider it my mission to support local agriculture and encourage others to do the same, whether through growing their own food, sharing food with others, or supporting local farmers though the farmers markets,” said Sakina. “I think it’s fabulous that Living Light is including gardening in their curriculum!”