While sustainability may seem like a buzz word that wound its way into pertinence to some, the concept has largely ruled supreme for communities like Woodinville. The land is still as bountiful— yet maybe not as plentiful—as it once was. The soil is soft and fertile. The blossoms continue to bloom. With the boom of wineries and other beverage producers that occupy the city’s tourist district, it has been in vogue to tout the benefits of producing the finest, most organic products possible. Before many of the shops had ground their way into one of Washington’s most tantalizing microclimates, the search for a new Woodinville Farmers’ Market occupied the minds of a few at the end of the ‘90s. By 2005, a 21-acre parcel had been purchased. The following year, the organization and site were officially named 21 Acres.
In 2004, the 21 Acres land parcel was identified and the first community garden and youth educational programs started. Since then, the organization’s central theme of sustainable agriculture education has thrived. They have hosted 27 different Boy Scout and Eagle Scout projects ranging from a varied collection of work. From bridges and beehives to tunnels and tables with benches, the Scouts have constructed some fine pieces. “The relationship with these young men has gone back years and we’ve had the pleasure of hearing from them as they’ve become successful adults. It’s such a joy to have a twenty-something former Eagle Scout visit us at 21 Acres and reminisce about a project he did here long ago,” said Robin Crowder who co-directs 21 Acres and leads marketing and partnership development. She went on to explain how in 2019, 21 Acres has focused intensely on youth education on the farm and helping young people understand about how soil regeneration sequesters carbon.
Deb Sternagel, who runs human resources and is the administrative manager of 21 Acres, has been part of 21 of the Scout projects. “We have invited the scouts back to participate in flag ceremonies, they have come back and volunteered in other ways, and in one case, we hired one of them for part-time work,” said Sternagel. She went on to fondly reflect on the opportunity she had to write a letter of reference for one previous Scout when he was applying for the military. She said that it happens often when the staff sees Scouts showing their past projects off to friends and relatives; all of which are loved and appreciated on the active campus. After years of dedicated work, Sternagel will be retiring soon and thusly handing off her mentoring and Eagle projects to the current Volunteer Lead, Krystal Wasson.