Cultural Seeds

“Seed” is Bija in Sanskrit, Shīdo in Japanese, Zhǒngzǐ in Chinese, Seme in Italian, Semilla in Spanish, Semence in French, семена in Bulgarian, and is universally translated as the source of life and the origin of food. Across all languages it means grain, essence, crop. In Greek, Aramaic, Latin – as well as English – it is also a verb, to seed. Would it surprise you to know that it is also used to mean semen, child, descendant, race, species, posterity, lineage and ancestry?

It is finally coming into mainstream consciousness that plant diversity and human cultural diversity are both under severe threat, in astonishingly similar ways, from the same, multi-faceted enemy. Over the past 100 years, it is estimated that we’ve lost 75% of the genetic diversity of our crops. At the same time, a similar percentage of world languages (half of the 7,000 known at the beginning of last century) have become extinct, and the unique cultures they represented along with them. These losses are related, as some now recognize, and a new language is coming into being, using words like “ethnosphere” to express the understanding that language itself, as well as our stories, art, music, science, and everything we call ‘culture’ is not only a product of the environment , but also, most significantly, a tool for our survival and flowering as human beings just as much, and in a similar way, as is biological adaptation. Our minds’ propensity to make distinctions between “nature” and “culture”, between what we’ve often called “nature” and “nurture,” and more recently, between technological/man-made and “natural” selection is preventing us from having the perspective necessary to see these larger patterns at work. Interrelatedness goes much deeper than these conceptual divides.

At NWLACC we feel that each individual cross-cultural interaction is a seed that can contribute to and help preserve our cultural diversity. I am so moved each and every time I see that small sprout of understanding grow in a child or an adults – as a word, an idea, a song, a recipe is shared through personal stories and human interactions between cultures. Allowing other traditions to flourish in “new soil” and appreciating their diversity is also what strengthens us, giving us the tools to become more resilient, more adaptable, and stronger as a species. Whenever cultural traits and traditions emerge, I believe that they do so as an adaptation to a certain environment or life condition. Learning this and engaging with it will allow us to bring forth a new and hardier set of seeds of our own, and to be better suited to our own rapidly changing world.

Also, in this issue:
SPANISH CLUB (4-7 years olds)



Jack Fackerell studied Hebrew at the University of Washington and at Hebrew Union College. He lived in Jerusalem, Israel and a development town in the Negev desert, where he was a teacher. Hebrew is a passion and a source of great joy for him. NWLACC is lucky to have such a dedicated and talented leader and educator.

The Hebrew chat group began in April 2016 with 3 members. They now have 7 members plus the leader. 5 of these members have been to Israel, some lived there for years. Some of the members are Jewish, others are not. New members have been joining over time. Their goal is to have one meeting in Israel!

Participants have many diverse motivations encouraging them to attend the Hebrew Chat. For some, this is their only opportunity to practice Hebrew and keep the language alive. Others enjoy learning about Israeli culture through group members and the wonderful leader, Jack. The sessions encourage members to study more at home and continue to learn! Chat groups are social and fun, the location is convenient and the group itself is very welcoming!

The Hebrew Chat Group meets every Friday from 2:00-3:00.
All are welcome to join, the connection with Israel is something we all share!


Langley Middle School Global Cultures Program

Throughout the final week of February, students in Susan Milan’s 7th grade Health and Wellness class explored what it means to be healthy in different cultures around the world. With a focus on healthy eating, students learned about key grains and traditional, nutritious meals in Lebanon, Japan and Russia. The best part of the program was cooking and eating together with the Native Presenters.

Support GLobal Education for SW Students


Saturday, April 29th (10 am – 1 pm)
$75 registration

Learn the art of Japanese Pruning from master gardener, Masa Mizuno. A Japanese luncheon will follow the demonstration. Shakuhachi musician, Patrick Johnson, will perform on a traditional Japanese bamboo flute.


Spanish Club (4-7 years olds)

Fridays, 9 – 10 am
Starting March 10, 2017 for 10 weeks*

Bring your toddlers and children 4-7 years old to meet new friends and engage in fun, hands-on exploration of Spanish language and culture.  Learn alongside your child within this immersive Spanish language-learning program! Songs, games, stories, cooking, crafts and lots of movement make these classes fun & engaging for the whole family!

Registration is still open for a maximum of 12 families.
$150 fee for one parent & child, includes all materials and snacks.

*no meetings on April 21 & April 28, last session is on May 26th.

Beginners Spanish Club

Mondays, 11:00 – 12:30 pm
April 3rd- June 12th

This interactive class for beginners I & II will tune up your skills in Spanish and introduce useful cultural tips.

Fee: $285 / person
Registration open through March 27th

Contact: 360.321.2101 or [email protected]

Weekly Chat Groups

Weekly drop-in Chat Groups at NWLACC are informal, lively and full of fun.

French – Tuesdays 10am – 11am
Hebrew – Fridays 2pm – 3pm
Russian – Wednesdays 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Spanish – Wednesdays 5:30pm – 6:30pm

For Chinese, German, Italian, and Japanese please inquire.

Free of charge, $5 donations encouraged.

Adult Language Classes

Register now for Spring sessions

Dynamic and interactive 1.5 hour lessons for beginner/intermediate/advanced levels.

Spring Session: Registration now open for April 3 – June 10
Fee: $285

Fall Session: September 14 – November 16

French, Italian and Spanish have regular scheduled group classes if minimum attendance of 5 is met. For German, Russian, Japanese and Chinese, please inquire.

Travel Language Workshops
French, Italian, Spanish

Intense and interactive language lessons to prepare you for your travels or improve your conversational skills.

Every 3rd weekend of a month
Sat & Sun: 9:30am – 12:30pm.
Fee: $150 (6 participants minimum)

Registration for the next month closes by the end of the current month. Please contact us to inquire about your language of choice.

Private Lessons

Learn a new lesson at your own pace with a private tutor.

Private lessons for French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Japanese and Chinese can be arranged.

Please inquire with Maria at NWLACC’s office: call 360-321-2101, or email [email protected]


Stay at Northwest Language and Cultural Center in one of our charming Guest rooms!

Our Guesthouse boasts six elegant rooms, each with a private bath, seating area, and fireplace. Our two largest suites also include jacuzzi tubs and a private patio. A downstairs common area with kitchenette is also available for use.

Ideal for NWLACC program participants and international visitors, the Guesthouse captures the relaxed charm of English country living right here on Whidbey Island.