Today we celebrate Beth Wheat, committed Program on the Environment lecturer and founder of SkyRoot Farm on Whidbey Island, who will receive a Husky Green Award at the Earth Day festivities on Red Square.
In Whole U’s Faculty Friday spotlight, Beth shares her love for growing food, a love that was born when she was a graduate student at UW, and grew to become a full fledged passion.
She shares this passion with us all, through her partnership with the UW Farm; through the classes she teaches: The Urban Farm, Sustainable Societies and Agro-Ecology of Cascadia; and through SkyRoot, a 20-acre integrated animal and vegetable farm on Whidbey Island. The farm takes an ecosystem-based approach to land management and agriculture (which includes using goats to maintain the blackberries, ducks to control the slug population and poultry to build the soil and manage the weeds).
Beth often takes students to SkyRoot Farm as an active-learning experience to show them how urban agriculture practices can benefit the environment and human health. She believes that changing how small-scale farms operate can contribute to solving the climate change problem—capturing carbon in the form of organic matter and storing it in the reserves of soil. In her teaching practices, she impresses upon her students the importance of connecting to their heart space, and how the trade-offs they face in our modern society can be influenced by the difference they want to make in the world.
“Working a small farm is one of the most powerful jobs a person can do in that it leads to health in a lot of ways—there’s a cascading impact.” – Elizabeth Wheat