Fall Youth Interns

5 Nov

Our fall 2014 youth interns have been breaking in our kitchen classroom since the beginning of October. They have been preparing for the start of fall programming by making snacks to keep in the freezer, canning and preserving the last of the summer harvest, and learning to be advocates in their schools and communities.

Our current youth interns, Gabriel and Eamon were the featured speakers at our Garden Gala on October 17. They shared stories about how Green Plate Special has impacted their lives as participants in past spring and summer programs. Eamon told a story about making an omelet for his grandfather’s birthday, using a technique learned at Green Plate Special. Gabriel shared that he learned to like mushrooms after trying new recipes using mushrooms at Green Plate Special, and this made him aware how important it was to have an open mind and try things even if he didn’t think he would like them.


Fall youth interns make salsa from the last of our summer tomato harvest.

The Green Plate Special internship program is in its second year. As interns, youth gain basic job skills, while supporting youth programs. Spring and fall interns serve as peer leaders during after-school programs, preparing snacks and helping with setting up activities. Summer interns work at the Green Plate Special Produce Stand, from June through August, selling produce to our community in Rainier Valley. We have two to three youth interns per season.


Fall interns set up cooking stations in our new kitchen classroom.

Thanks for a great Garden Gala!

24 Oct

Thanks to all who joined us for our Garden Gala last Friday, October 17. It was a meaningful night for Green Plate Special, and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of all of our guests. We raised over $45,000 to support our youth gardening and cooking programs and to put the finishing touches on our kitchen classroom.

We heard inspiring stories from Green Plate Special board members and Executive Director, Laura Dewell, and listened to Gabriel and Eamon, our fall youth interns, talk about how Green Plate Special has impacted their lives. Guests were treated to garden tours, and enjoyed wood-fired pizza and seafood paella, and fresh salsa and taro chips from The Ruins, as well as beer from Fremont Brewing and wines from a’Maurice and Chinook Wines.

Thanks to our major sponsor, Point B Management Consulting, and the many local businesses, chefs, and volunteers who generously supported this special night.

Introducing our new Kitchen Classroom

24 Oct

Our new kitchen classroom is now complete and ready to welcome students! The 1,000 square foot kitchen classroom has five cooking stations, and four big work tables, with enough room for about 20 youth to cook together. Youth will whip up soups and omelets on induction burners, and store fresh picked produce in a refrigerator large enough to fit bins of collard greens and chili peppers! Our freezer is already full of tomatoes and tomatillos that will be used in cooking lessons throughout the winter.

A gathering space with a projector screen and piano is a place for learning, as well as enjoying each others company during breaks in programming. Youth can store their backpacks in cubbies, and pick up an apron just around the corner in the pantry area. Big front windows look out into the garden, and the large deck – with coat hooks and rubber boot storage – is shaded by our garden’s English walnut tree.


We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the architects, contractors, consultants, electricians, and local businesses that made our kitchen dream a reality, including:

Environmental Works, Seattle
Olympic Contractors, Everett
Northstar Electrical, Seattle
Contour Fence, Woodinville
Edensaw Woods
Saltbox Designs, Seattle

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Reminiscing on a full summer

22 Oct

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Here at Green Plate Special we often lose track of time in the summer. Between early morning setup, apple butter making, flower pounding, and madly harvesting, we are in the garden from dawn, nearly until dust. Sometimes we lose track of time so much, that our summer blog posts don’t happen until September!

This year, we piloted our first week-long summer camp with nine students from throughout Seattle. In five full days, we dove into cooking, with vegetable soups and tomato salads. We harvested fresh produce each day, and used much of it in our cooking. We did art projects, and learned about nutrition labels and sugary drinks. And, we had plenty of time to relax in the walnut tree and enjoy the sun.

At the end of the week, our youth had learned to try new things “even if they look gross.” They discovered new flavors and surprising vegetables, like tomatillos and eggplant. They took home vegetables from the garden, recipes, and the knowledge to create healthy meals at home.


Register for Fall After-School

23 Sep

Registration is now open for Green Plate Special’s fall after-school programs. The two seven week sessions will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning on Monday, November 3 and Wednesday, November 5. Youth will gain hands-on cooking and gardening skills, including planting, harvesting, knife skills, and soup and omelet making. We also do garden-focused art projects and team building activities.

Youth of all backgrounds and abilities are welcome! We offer all of our programs on a generous sliding scale, to make them affordable for all families. We happily work with individuals to make participation possible.

Download registration paperwork for MONDAYS
Download registration paperwork for WEDNESDAYS

Meet Brian, Our New Volunteer Coordinator

3 Sep


My name is Brian Robbins, and I’m thrilled to join the Green Plate Special team as the Volunteer Coordinator! I will be part of Green Plate Special for a year, as a QuEST Fellow.

I was born and raised in Southeastern Pennsylvania, but have spent the past four years at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA where I studied Sociology and Spanish. During my time at Pitzer, I studied abroad in Botswana and Costa Rica, participated in Pitzer’s Outdoor Adventures club, and worked as a kitchen worker at the Grove House-a café that sources food from local and organic sources. I also served as the campus Compost Coordinator which gave me the opportunity to begin working in our student-operated organic garden. This piqued my interest in sustainable, small-scale agriculture.

brianandthepumpkinI am coming to Seattle after spending a summer at Urban Adamah- a Jewish community farm and environmental education center in Berkeley, CA. I completed a comprehensive farm fellowship which included training in compost management, goat and chicken husbandry, water management, soil management, basic permaculture design, and more. I am excited to continue to develop my gardening skills while simultaneously recruiting and supporting the best volunteers in our programming at Green Plate Special.

Green Plate Special is an incredible organization because we work to re-establish the connection between our community and the food we eat. Healthy and affordable food is arguably the most basic human right, and our programs give kids the skills they need to grow their own food and cook it for a tasty meal or snack. The skills that students develop here will serve them, their families, and their communities for a lifetime.


Favorite vegetable: Green Onion

Favorite fruit: Asian Pears

Favorite food to prepare: Guacamoles and Salsas

Favorite cooking memory/experience:

My mom has a wok (a Chinese cooking pot) that was passed down to her from her dad. You never scrub a wok after use, because incredible flavors from the herbs and spices build up on the sides. My mom and I make stir fry together in the wok, and the taste from all of the meals that have been cooked in the wok before become part of the meal that you are about to eat. It is an incredible feeling to taste the memories in your food!

27 Aug


Tickets on sale now at
$35 for Adults, $15 for Youth

Please join us in the Green Plate Special garden for a special evening to support our youth gardening and cooking programs, and celebrate the opening of our new kitchen classroom.

6:00 pm – Doors open. Enjoy great food and drinks
7:00 pm – A few words from our Board of Directors
7:15 pm – Raise your paddle!

To purchase tickets by mail or phone, please contact Laura Waltner at lwaltner@greenplatespecial.org or 206-228-8645


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