17th Annual Organic Growers School for Gardeners and Farmers Set for March 6-7 at UNC Asheville
Tue, 01/12/2010 - 10:53am
Media Contact: Meredith McKissick, Organic Growers School, 828.582.5039
A weekend of workshops for beginning gardeners to advanced commercial growers, the 17th Annual Organic Growers School takes place Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7, at UNC Asheville. The event, which is open to the public, provides practical, region-appropriate organic growing and permaculture workshops, homesteading and rural living classes such cooking and stonescaping, as well as a seed exchange, silent auction, and trade show. This year’s school offers 75 sessions each day with topics ranging from beginning gardening to commercial farming to urban homesteading. The schedule of workshops is designed with all levels of growers in mind: the professional farmer, the beginning commercial grower, and the home gardener. Also offered at this years school is the 6th annual Children’s Program for kids ages 7 to 12 and a hands-on, on-the-farm session on Sunday, March 7.
Now in its 17th year, The Organic Growers School has grown from a small gathering of 100 growing enthusiasts in 1994 to a regionally recognized conference drawing over 1300 attendees, exhibitors and speakers from 17 different states and Canada. One of the largest conferences of its type in the region, The Organic Growers School has served to reinforce Western North Carolina’s role as a regional leader in organic farming.
Participants may choose any four workshops from among the 69 offered in the themed tracks: Beginning Gardening, What’s Hot, Nurturing Healthy Soils, New and Alternative Crops, Commercial Grower, Appropriate Technology, Livestock, Permaculture, Pest Management, Sustainable Landscaping, Herbs, Food Preservation, Cooking, Sustainable Forestry and new hands-on, half-day workshops.
Among the specific workshops offered are: Community Gardens, BioDynamics, Edible Landscaping, Vermicomposting, Bio-Char, Raising Backyard Poultry, Biomass Gasification, Farmer Panel: Everything Intern, Extending the Season, Taming the Weeds in Organic Vegetables, Cut Flower Production, Growing Hops, Vegetable Fermentation, Urban Orchards, Medicinal Herbs, Making Maple Syrup, Rain Gardening, Seasonal Cooking & Living, and more!
Half-day, hands-on workshops with smaller numbers of participants are offered in: Make your Own Fresh Pasta, Goat Cheese Making, Using Edible and Medicinal “Weeds”, Raising Heritage Poultry, Building with Stone in the Landscape, Wild Baskets, Do-it-Yourself Seed and Germination Equipment, Sustainable Landscaping (separate workshops for professionals and homeowners), The ABCs of Organic Certification, Herbal Medicine Making, Chainsaw Safety Training, Natural Beekeeping, and Plant Walks.
The Organic Growers School is proud to offer its sixth annual program for children. The Children’s Program focuses on the importance of agriculture and the environment. This supervised full-day event is open to children ages 7-12 years old, with a registration limit of 32 children. Children will explore the world of agriculture through numerous hands-on activities involving plants, animals, insects, and food. Cost is $30 per child.
Also offered this year is continued learning through a hands-on, on-the-farm session on Sunday March 7. The Sunday session is a great way for interested commercial growers to add knowledge and hands-on experience with an intensive session at a well-known area farm. The Sunday session at Flying Cloud Farm in Fairview, N.C. is “Integrated Weed Management for Organic Crops” The session runs from 1-5 p.m. and the cost is $25. Registration for this session is available with the Organic Growers School Registration form.
The trade show showcases a wide array of exhibitors and products: local farms, gardening suppliers, and cottage industries that specialize in organic products, books and resources for organic growers and Permaculture practitioners, and several non-profit organizations with information on related topics. A full list of exhibitors is on the Organic Growers School website and is updated regularly. Businesses and organizations interested in exhibiting should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A silent auction will run all weekend, giving participants the chance to bid on items donated by related businesses, such as organic car care, garden and farm tools, fertilizers, books, clothing, and more. Proceeds from the auction go directly to supporting Organic Growers School educational initiatives for farmers and consumers alike. Those interested in donating to the auction should contact email@example.com.
A Seed and Plant Exchange booth is open throughout the weekend as part of the trade show. Seed saving and plant exchanges are key steps in the quest to preserve genetic diversity and protect regionally adapted varieties. Attendees may bring excess seeds and small plants to share, barter, or trade. Seed saving supplies and recommended readings will be provided.
NEW THIS YEAR! The Organic Growers School is partnering with local businesses and active area non profits to host a “Salon Revival!”, or open panel discussions on hot topics in the area of food systems and sustainable agriculture. The salons take place 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday, March 6. Topics to be discussed:
1. Making Organic Accessible: Healthy Food for ALL Citizens facilitated by the Organic Growers School and the Bountiful Cities Project. Location still to be determined (local green businesses interested in hosting this salon please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 828/582-5039).
2. Food Safety and Agricultural Policy: How to be an Effective Advocate for Change facilitated by the Organic Growers School and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Hosted by Firestorm Café and Books.
3. Nourishing Tomorrow’s Leaders: Battling Childhood Obesity through Farm to School Programs facilitated by the Organic Growers School and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. Hosted by Nest Organics.
The SALON REVIVAL is open to the general public and is FREE to attend. Interested participants should reserve their free seat by emailing email@example.com or by indicating their salon of choice on the OGS online Conference Registration Form. The Salon Revival is sponsored by the Mountain Area Information Network, Firestorm Café and Books, and Nest Organics.
The major sponsors of the 17th Annual Organic Growers School are The Beattie Foundation, Carolina Farm Credit, Greenlife Grocery, and Earth Fare with additional sponsorship support from Organic Shopper Magazine, ABTech BioNetwork BioBusiness Center, Foothills Family Farms, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Mountain Xpress, BackHome Magazine, Early Girl Eatery, Earth Tools, Fifth Season Gardening Co., High Mowing Organic Seeds, Laughing Seed Café, Nature’s NOG, The Organic Mechanic, Reems Creek Nursery and Landscaping, Sow True Seed, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference and Yellow Branch Cheese.
The Organic Growers School is organized annually by the Organic Growers School INC, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Persons who Early Bird Register for the school by February 12th, 2010 have the option to buy a catered $10 lunch buffet provided by sponsor Greenlife Grocery with local, pasture raised beef donated by Foothills Family Farms. Beans and Berries, West End Bakery, and Urban Burrito will also be on site selling lunch items.
The cost for the all-day conference is $40 for those who pre-register by 5 p.m. February 12. Registration for the Children’s Program is $30 and for college students is $35. Registration after February 12 or the day of the school (between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.) is $55. Registration for the half-day hands-on workshops and cooking classes is an additional $5 per workshop and requires Early Bird Registration by February 12.
Interested participants may register on-line at www.organicgrowersschool.org or request a mailed registration form from firstname.lastname@example.org or 828/582-5039. Registration forms are also available at area outlets such as Earth Fare, Greenlife Grocery, other sponsor’s retail stores and area Cooperative Extension offices.
The Organic Growers School is proud to offer over 100 opportunities for individuals to attend the conference by means of a work exchange program. Persons interested in applying for work exchange/volunteer status should visit the OGS website, click on “volunteer” and fill out an application. Shifts are filled on a first come, first-served basis.
Businesses interested in participating in the school as a coffee vendor, exhibitor or sponsor should contact Organic Growers School Coordinator Meredith Leigh McKissick at email@example.com or call 828/582-5039.
2010 ORGANIC GROWERS SCHOOL*
Saturday and Sunday, March 6 - 7, 2010
at the University of North Carolina at Asheville
7:30 – 8:30 Registration / Trade Show / Silent Auction / Seed & Plant Exchange
8:30 – 9:00 Trade Show / Silent Auction / Seed & Plant Exchange
9:00 – 10:30 Session 1
10:30 – 11:00 Break / Trade Show / Silent Auction / Seed & Plant Exchange
11:00 – 12:30 Session 2
12:30 – 2:00 Lunch / Trade Show / Silent Auction / Seed & Plant Exchange
2:00 – 3:30 Session 3
3:30 – 4:00 Break / Trade Show / Silent Auction / Seed & Plant Exchange
4:00 – 5:30 Session 4
TRACK A: What’s Hot
• Farming Together: Developing Agreement in Farm Transfer
• Growing Communities through Gardens
• Cut Flower Production: Snapdragons
• Down to Earth Biodyanamics
TRACK B: Gardening
• Starting your First Vegetable Garden
• Endless Summer: Growing Year ‘Round
• Beautiful and Delicious: Designing a Productive Edible Landscape
• Pest Management: Options for the Home Garden
TRACK C: Soils
• Soil Ecology 101
• Vermi-Composting: On Farm and Backyard How-to
• Growing Soil Fertility with Cover Crops
• Introduction to BioChar
TRACK D: Livestock
• Raising Backyard Poultry
• Sustainable Pasture Management
• Organic Dairy for the Future
• Meat Goat Production and Marketing for WNC
TRACK E: Appropriate Technology
• Improving Home Performance in Comfort, Health, Safety and Efficiency
• Energy Options for the Farm
• Small- Scale Wind Energy for Homes, Farms, and Businesses
• Biomass Gasification
TRACK F: Commercial Farmers
• Update on the State of Food Safety
• Organic Farming: What to Expect Your First Year
• SUNDAY ONLY- Farmer Panel: Everything Intern
• Cash Crops & Cover Crops: Rotation Options for Southern Mountain Farms
• Extending the Season
• SUNDAY ONLY: Marketing & Branding
TRACK G: Pest Management
• Disease Prevention: The Key to Organic Poultry Health Management
• Taming the Weeds in Organic Vegetables
-SUNDAY ONLY: Bugs Among Us
• Integrated Disease Management in Organic Vegetable Production
• Sharpening your Pest Management Skills in Cut Flower Production
TRACK H: New & Alternative Crops
• Shiitake Mushrooms and Beyond
• Growing Truffles in WNC
• The Joys and Challenges of Growing Hops
• Exploring Muscadine Wine Grape Production
TRACK I: Food Preservation
• Making Chutneys, Relishes, and Jams
• Growing for Winter Harvest and Storage: Eating Fresh Food Year Round
• Vegetable Fermentation
• Build your own Solar Food Dehydrator
TRACK J: Permaculture
• Sculpting and Weaving Plants: The Fine Art of Biotechture
• Humaure- It’s a Hot Topic
• Soil Enhancement Strategies: Permaculture Style
-SUNDAY ONLY: Weeds: Good, Bad, and “Invasive Exotics”
• Urban Orchards: Creating an Edible Garden of Eden
TRACK K: Herbs
• Green Cleaning Solutions
-SUNDAY ONLY: Organically Grown Healthcare
• Growing and Marketing Woodland Botanicals
• Herbal Companions for the Child Bearing Year
-SUNDAY ONLY: Using Organic Herbs According to Chinese Medicine
• Propagating Medicinal Herbs
TRACK L: Sustainable Forestry
• Making Maple Syrup in the South
• Forest Management for Non-Industrial, Private Forest Landowners
• Native Non-Timber Forest Products and Botanicals
• Organic Christmas Tree Production
TRACK M: Sustainable Landscaping
• Hawthorn Ecology and Utility: Often a Case of Unrefined Culture
• Roses are Plants, too
• Wrangling Raindrops: The Benefits of Natural Irrigation using Rain Gardens
• Using Native Grasses and Wildflowers to Restore Habitat
TRACK N: Cooking
• Ayurvedic Cooking Foundations
• Seasonal Cooking and Living
-SUNDAY ONLY: Cooking with Chinese Medicinal Herbs
• Feeding the Family Right
• Fast Food for Farmers
HALF-DAY HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS
• Make your Own Fresh Pasta
• Goat Cheese Making
• Using Edible and Medicinal Weeds (Saturday Only)
• Raising Heritage Poultry
• Building with Stone in the Landscape (Saturday Only)
• Wild Baskets
• DIY Seed and Germination Equipment (Saturday Only)
• Sustainable Landscaping (Saturday for Professionals, Sunday for Homeowners)
• The ABCs of Organic Certification
•Herbal Medicine Making
•Chainsaw Safety Training (Saturday Only)
•Natural Beekeeping for BEEginners
6th ANNUAL CHILDREN’S PROGRAM
A full day of learning for kids from 7-12, focusing on the importance of agriculture and the environment. Children will explore the world of agriculture through numerous hands-on activities involving plants, animals, insects, and food.
Sunday, March 7 On the Farm Workshop
• Integrated Weed Management for Organic Crops
* Sessions as of January 11, 2010. Schedule subject to change.