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 or 206-228-8645

Meet the Interns: Zach!

7 Aug


I’m Zach. I am a college grad from University of Colorado at Boulder. I was born, raised and lived in Colorado for 22 years. I played college football, got degrees in international affairs and political science and then it was time for me to go see another part of America. So I packed my bags and flew to Seattle. I still wanted to learn, so I have been getting my Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Washington Evan’s School. I plan to use my degree to aid and consult nonprofits however I can so that they can continue to grow and make an impact.

Personally, I enjoy working with organizations that aid and empower youth. This summer I have been fortunate (and quite busy) to work with four different nonprofit organizations. They all have been great experiences and have allowed me to work with so many passionate people doing great things for youth.

zach1But Green Plate Special stands out in its own way. The service that they provide to youth is such a unique model in Seattle. Its personal hands-on approach is something that resonates with me. Learn by doing. Starting a project from a seed and developing it to a meal is something I think the kids really take with them.

I am always looking to try new things and have people in my life do the same. That’s been the best part of Green Plate Special; having the kids try new foods. The students always have a gut reaction to be timid, and desire not to try the new foods. But after a little persuasion, I get them to take a bite and their eyes light up and want more. It is rewarding to see that personal growth in the kids and openness to discovering new things.

Favorite Vegetable: Sweet Potatoes

Favorite Fruit: Strawberries

Favorite thing to cook: Steak and vegetables. Yum.

Favorite family cooking memory/experience:

I was in Winterthur, Switzerland with my best friend, a Swiss native, Joris. He asked me what he wanted to cook and I told him I wanted to try a cultural dish. He said, “Zopf, Riz Casimir, and Zurchergeschnetzeltes!” I had no idea what he said, what it meant, or what I was eating. He just had me doing things left and right, different steps of the two recipes. After a whirlwind, we had completed our meal and it was delicious. Zopf is soft white loaf bread. Riz Casimir is dish that combines curry, rice, meat, and fruit. Zurchergeschnetzeltes is a meat dish mixed with all these yummy vegetables topped with a cream sauce. The whole process was so fascinating to me, I got to prepare, cook, and eat just as if I was a Swiss citizen. It was so enjoyable to connect to a culture in that unique way.




Meet the Interns: Kendra!

7 Aug

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHi there, my name is Kendra. I am currently a student at Whitman College, studying anthropology, and very interested in nutrition. Originally from the Seattle area, I am excited to be back for the summer and thrilled to be part of the Green Plate Special team. I grew up helping out in our family garden and over the past few years I have developed a love of cooking and nutrition.

Being a part of swim teams since elementary school, and now at Whitman, has been influential in shaping my interest in working with and helping people. At Whitman, I often worked with younger swimmers on technique and basic swimming skills, which was a rewarding and fun experience. Constantly surrounded by a group of peers, swimming has taught me how to collaborate with others, and have a positive attitude. This summer I have carried these skills over to the team of Green Plate Special staff, interns, and youth.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the reasons Green Plate Special caught my attention was the value it places on the whole food process: starting with planting a seed, tending the garden, harvesting, cooking, and enjoying the meal from the fresh food. These all can be lifelong skills, and to teach these at a young age can make a big impact on one’s life.

There is a lot of experimentation and personal choice that comes with cooking and to me, that’s what makes food fun; it can be colorful, messy or decorated to your choice, and still taste delicious. I’ve enjoyed trying new foods with the kids this summer, and look beyond what is normally on our plate.

Favorite Vegetable: Carrot, Broccoli

Favorite Fruit: Peach, Banana, Blueberries

Favorite thing to cook: Any main meal dishes (especially homemade pizza!)

Favorite family cooking memory/experience: A few summers ago, my Mom and I discovered a cobbler recipe from an old cook book, combining both blackberries and apples. We used apples from our apple tree in the backyard and blackberries from the trail behind our house and then tried our luck with the recipe. I loved collecting the fruit with my family and making something from it. It turned out to be delicious and now it isn’t a summer without making the cobbler at least once.

Meet The Interns: Cascade!

30 Jul

Hi my name is Cascade!  I am a rising junior at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington studying History with a potential minor in Film and Media Studies.  Eventually, I would like to be a high school history teacher and give future students the engaging educational experience that my teachers graciously gave me.  That being said, graduation still feels like a long way off, so I am open to wherever life takes me in the next two years.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAfter many hours of internet searching, I finally found Green Plate Special and knew right away that it was a perfect fit.  This internship combines some of my favorite activities: eating, cooking, being outside, teaching, and learning.  I thoroughly enjoy good food and believe it should be regarded not as a privilege, but as a right.  I am so excited to help empower GPS youth toward healthier and tastier eating habits while simultaneously learning from the youth and my co-workers.

I have always loved cooking, finding it to be a creative and meditative process.  In fact, sometimes I will cook extra dishes even when I am full just to be in the kitchen longer.  Thanks to my grandma, my sole magazine subscription is Bon Appetite whose recipes and articles I devour as soon as it arrives on my doorstep.

?????????????????????????????While my eating habits have slightly declined since coming to college (macaroni has become a consistent, late-night study buddy), I continue to value healthy cooking.  I love to make pesto and roasted tomato spread with my mom in the fall and also enjoy baking, considering myself a lover of chocolate, i.e., a choco-holic.







Favorite veggie: Walla Walla sweet onions!

Favorite fruit: an endless supply of fresh raspberries

Favorite thing to cook: creative paninis

Family cooking tradition: my mother makes a huckleberry pie every Valentine’s Day morning




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