About Us

About the Founder:  Rev. Barbara Allen, CMP (Certified Mediation Practitioner), WSU CFA (Washington State University Certified Food Advidsor)

Reverend Barbara with Food Baskets
Born and raised in the greater New York City metropolitan area, until she came to the Pacific Northwest decades ago. Never a gardener in her early life within concrete, brick, and blacktop boundaries, when she moved to the Pacific Northwest, she came to appreciate this lush natural world. For decades, loving, breeding, training, working and playing with, exhibiting, winning prizes, setting Guinness World records for World’s Strongest Canines, with her beloved Newfoundland dogs, and raising four children, was a great joy.

Upon moving to Camano Island, she became a dedicated food gardener, with the support of friends and Master Gardeners who shared their knowledge with her, including Alice Ruth Reiner, George and Edna Thorleifson, and Esther Karamanos.

In the early 1990’s, through Washington State University Extension Division, Barbara took a formal 40 hour class and curriculum in Everett, Washington, and became a WSU Certified Food Advisor. WSU also offers Master Gardener training through their satellite facilities. Food advisors learn the basics of healthy nutrition, food preservation by all readily available means, and much more. In return for their training, Certified Advisors pay back with at least 40 hours of community service, which may include providing information at Festivals and Fairs. It quickly became apparent that no matter what outreach was tried, specific groups refused help or instruction in using free government provided foods, or Food Bank provisions. This left healthy nutritious cost-free foods moldering or discarded through end user lack of education, information, and motivation.

While working on a manuscript dealing with the native history of Camano Island and surrounding areas Barbara met and was honored to be mentored by: Vi Hilbert, Upper Skagit; Wayne Williams, Tulalip; Hank Gobin, Tulalip, and founding director of the Hibulb Museum at Tulalip; Roy Wilson, Cowlitz Chair and Medicine man; representatives of the Swinomish tribe; Gail Gregor Stillaguamish Chief, and others.

In the late 1990’s Barbara visited the Makah Reservation at Neah Bay during the height of the Sea Shepherd protests, met and dined with Tribal leaders by their invitation. She also met repeatedly with the Makah whaling council, and Tribal council. The Makah’s had not been given much help from the Federal government with instruction about how to dissect a whale and utilize all parts of the animal. Rev. Allen’s former husband had been a Marine Mammalogist for the Federal Government, and she had more experience than perhaps any other American regarding whale harvesting and food preservation, cooking, etc.. The Makah’s did not want her to leave the reservation, but rather remain to help with their next catch. She agreed to return if need be, but could not remain. She returned home and sought information from local, licensed, butchers and meat processors about processing methods. Some of the Makah referred to her as: “She who cooks whales.”

She has also trained and served with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and American Red Cross Disaster Services of Camano Island, as a volunteer.

She is spiritual, not religious, a mystic in that she believes in the truth of her personal experiences.

Barbara has been a well published photo/journalist since age 14.

In 2013 she established the Rev. Barbara Allen Foundation, turning her residence into a demonstration of what anyone could do with a small garden area, even if disabled. Outreach began to encourage and teach people to enjoy, easily produce and prepare delicious, sustainable, organic garden treats, year ‘round. Healing plants from around the world have been added to the landscaping, including Goji berries, ginseng, ginger, Jerusalem artichokes (a.k.a. sunchokes), comfrey, healing herbs and spices used from ancient times to the present.

It has been wisely noted that if you give someone a fish, they will eat for a day, but if you teach them how to fish, they can feed themselves forever. We’re not giving away fish, but will be teaching, among other things about highly nutritious tasty sea vegetables, gathered from our beach.

Rev. Allen sponsored the first giant cabbage contest held in Mount Vernon on September 28, 2013, in cooperation with John Christianson, the Skagit Valley Consumers Co-Op and other businesses, and worked with Christianson’s Nursery in Mount Vernon to initiate the first Giant Vegetable Contest, with prizes, in the Skagit Valley, on September 27, 2014.

There are no charges by the Foundation for any classes, dinners or other events which are all by advance reservation. Seedlings, started plants, and other organics may be gifted by the Foundation to participants.

RBAF Mission Statement

We wish to further the principle, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, to that end it is our intention that Rev. Allens’s residence be used as the Reverend Barbara Allen Retreat, Research, and Learning Center for the purpose of improving the health of Skagit, Island and Snohomish Counties, Washington State and beyond through education, research, and demonstrations on successfully using sustainable organic farming and edible landscaping to prepare healthier tasty foods for inclusion in people’s lives and diets.