A Friend in Focus

Friends in Focus is Back!

Each month, we will be featuring a short interview with one of the members of our community so that you can get to know them a little better.

This month, we would like to introduce you to Madeline. She is one of the many new faces that you will see at the Chuckanut Center. Madeline, along with her partner, Andrew, and friend, Michelle, will be tending to a plot and growing food with us. Keep reading to learn more about Madeline.

Madeline (left), with friends Andrew and Michelle, snapping a selfie while working in the gardens.

Any background information or bio that you’d like to share. (Where are you from? What do you do for work? Any family/pet details you want to share? What are your favorite hobbies?)

Hi there! My name is Madeline Gould, and I use she/her/hers pronouns. I’m originally from Madison, CT. I went to college at Syracuse University, and graduated in 2019. After graduating, I served as an Assistant Team Leader for the Maine Conservation Corps, where I worked on trail maintenance across the state. I moved to Washington in January of 2020. I lived in Seattle for about six months, and worked at PCC Consumer Markets, where I met Michelle, who also worked there! 

I moved up to Bellingham during the Summer of 2020. I served as an Americorps Food Educator with Common Threads Farm, here in Bellingham. I enjoyed learning how to maintain a school garden. I also taught in-person garden lessons in the Spring and online zoom cooking classes to kids in the winter. Other food educators and I cooked homemade soups and sauces for the school district and the food bank through the Good Food Project at the Central Kitchen. I currently work as a para-educator at Kulshan Middle School, and coach the KMS Cross Country team. I also enjoy hiking, camping and making candles!

How long have you been gardening? 

This will be my second full year gardening!

What have been some of your biggest challenges in the garden? 

Overthinking my plans!

What do you find most rewarding about your involvement with the Chuckanut Center? 

So far, I have really enjoyed the Plant Posse work party and Weed and Feed work party! It is so enjoyable to work with other gardeners towards a larger goal that will benefit the garden as a whole. It has been so nice to meet wonderful folks and enjoy each other’s company outside.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone who has very little experience growing their own food? 

If a new gardener feels apprehensive about starting a garden, as I did, and still do sometimes, my advice would be to try to remember that gardening can be as slow as you need it to be. I’ve found it most rewarding when I let the garden slow me down. I take a step back and look at what the garden needs in that moment, and tend to those needs. Gardening requires patience for the plants’ growth, as well as the gardener’s learning. Start small, and don’t be afraid to ask others for advice or help. I think gardening is done best in community. There’s usually not one perfect answer, but there are many helpful perspectives to care for a garden out there. 

Any favorite resources? 

I like referencing the “Maritime Northwest Garden Guide” by the Tilth Alliance. I also use the app “iNaturalist” a lot to help identify crops and weeds.

Lastly, what is your favorite thing to plant in May?

I haven’t planted them in a garden before, but I am looking forward to planting potatoes and shallots this May!

Thanks, Madeline for sharing your experience and wisdom with us. We are looking forward to watching your garden flourish this year!