Back to Basics: Seattle’s New Farm School Makes the Grade

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Thank you Red Tricycle Seattle for a great write-up!! From Red Tricycle Seattle, February 10, 2015

Back to Basics: Seattle’s New Farm School Makes the Grade

Author: Allison Sutcliffe

Let’s be honest parents, we invest serious time carting our kidlets to and from classes. So when we can get in on the learning too, it’s cause for celebration! Give three cheers to the Seattle Farm School, a newly opened domestic arts mecca, where parents and kids can learn crafty skills side-by-side (or on their own), in classes like canning, soap making, and crocheting (to name a few). It’s an old-school new school you’ve got to check out!

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photo: Krista Staudacher

Planting Seeds Like so many great ideas, the Seattle Farm School started in an unexpected way. Founder and Seattle mom, Katie Stemp, grew up gardening, canning and making jams alongside her mom. She knew that when she had her own family, she wanted to create similar memories and pass these skills along to them. So when her daughter arrived, Stemp brushed off her dusty domestic goddess badge and got down to it gardening and sewing, relearning skills she hadn’t put to use since childhood, and sharing it all with her daughter.

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photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Before long, people started to take notice, and an initial trickle of casual questions (“Hey can you teach me this?” or “Could you show me how to do that?”) turned into a stream of offers to help teach at what is now the Seattle Farm School. Stemp went with the flow and is now excited to share her vision with Seattle families. She hopes classes at the school will be an opportunity for parents and kids to learn something new that they can take home and do together for years to come.

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photo: Krista Staudacher

Fertile Fields The Seattle Farm School currently hosts classes in and around West Seattle, sometimes meeting at local businesses and sometimes meeting at someone’s house. It’s a casual, cozy atmosphere that makes each class seem like a get together with neighbors. Plus, all the instructors are local craftspeople who love sharing their gifts and traditions with the community, so there’s that, too. Bottom line, it’s got local, sustainable living written all over it.

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photo: Krista Staudacher

A new session kicked off on January 26th, and quite a few just-for-kid and mixed-aged classes are being offered this time around. If you’re interested in checking out a class or two, we’ve hand picked a few that should be a blast:

Check out one of the Kids Yarn Fun classes in February and March, where creative kidlets will finger knit adorable, not-at-all scary pompom monsters for someone they love. It’s a one-hour class just for mini monsters, with all materials (plus some for the road) provided. And at $20 a pop, it’s not going to break the bank.

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We also heart the Canning 101 Jam Making class in March, and not just because you can bring your sidekick for free (yep, you read that right), but because you’ll learn how to make delicious berry jams just in time for this summer’s bounty. Delish! This beginner-level, two-hour class costs $40.

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March’s seed starting class (cost $35) is sure to be another family fave. Just in time for spring, families will review 10 steps to successfully start seeds indoors, so they’ll grow up big and strong before moving outside for the summer. Kiddos are free with a parent registration here too, so sign up soon for this two-hour class.

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Check out the Farm School’s other offerings online to see what piques your interest. Each quarter brings something a little different, each with a seasonal slant.

Room to Grow After a successful first session, full of winter arts and crafts, Stemp just found a permanent home for the Farm School at the American Legion building in West Seattle. Beyond hosting various maker classes here, her vision for this space includes throwing crafty, themed birthday parties (think cape sewing for your little super hero or designing glow-in-the dark tee shirts for a party that’s out of this world). She also hopes to provide after school programming for older grade-schoolers in the future.

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photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Stemp’s other pet Farm School project is on the horizon for spring. Be on the lookout for a Children’s Free Food Garden sprouting up in the raised beds outside St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in West Seattle. The Territorial Seed Company has donated a serious bounty of edible plants, and Stemp, along with a slew of volunteers, will also plant herbs and berries alongside these delectable edibles. Hungry munchkins can roam these fields all summer long, picking their faves and eating them on the spot, with leftovers going to the local food bank. It sounds like an urban farm paradise!

Seattle Farm School Various locations in West Seattle Phone: 206-218-4948 Online: www.seattlefarmschool.com

Have you taken a class with Seattle Farm School? Are you planning on it? Tell us about your experience in a comment below.

— Allison Sutcliffe

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