Why learn cooking in a stuffy classroom when you can perfect your culinary expertise on a beautiful farm surrounded by clucking chickens and oinking pigs? That sense-enriching environment has been created at The Kitchen at Middleground Farms by owner Jessica Hansen, who teaches culinary courses for food enthusiasts in Wilsonville, Oregon. Knife skills, seasonal sauces, and food science are all on the course menu!

The COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately put a stop to much of her business, though. Social distancing and food service closures have significantly limited Hansen to just private events in the winter.

Despite the tough hand, Hansen said she sees this as an opportunity to buck the 2020 negativity and bring unexpected positive energy to her community. That’s why she decided to join in on Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project. With Columbia Bank picking up the check, The Kitchen at Middleground Farms is offering free cooking courses to Young Life of Wilsonville, a local youth group. “I hope that when people are lucky enough to be blessed by generosity, that they will choose to bless others,” Hansen said.