The 20th-Annual Organic Growers School takes place March 8 through March 10 at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in Asheville, N.C. The event, which is open to the public, provides practical, region-appropriate organic growing and permaculture workshops, homesteading and rural living classes, as well as a seed exchange, silent auction and trade show. This year’s school offers 70 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 our ninth-annual children’s program for kids ages 7 to 12, and hands-on, on-the-farm sessions on March 8.
Participants may choose any four workshops from among the 70 offered in the themed tracks and hands-on, half-day workshops. The themed tracks are: Digging In, Gardening, Soils, Livestock, Commercial Farmers I and Commercial Farmers II, Primitive Skills, Community Food, Permaculture, Herbs, Sustainable Forestry, Homesteading, Cooking and All About Poultry.
Half day hands-on workshops with smaller numbers of participants are offered in: Herbs as Natural Dyes, Natural Beekeeping for BEEginners, Goat Cheese Making, Primitive Cooking, Propagating Woodland Botanicals, Wood Fired Truck, Whole Hog Utilization for the Home Kitchen and more!
The Organic Growers School Ninth-Annual Children's Program is a supervised, full-day event open to children ages 7-12 years old (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.
Four hands-on, on-the-farm sessions will take place on Friday, March 8: 1) Creating a Sustainable Homestead Flock of Poultry at Mills River Educational Farm, Mills River, NC, 9am-4:30pm $45 per person. 2) A Forest Economy Primer and Hands-On Workshop at the UNCA Edible Forest Garden UNCA campus, 9am-4:30pm, $45 per person. 3) Community Work Day at Hillcrest Unity Garden Hillcrest Apartments, 10am-3pm. Participants in this service project will receive a $5 discount off their registration. 4) Fruit Tree Pruning at Green Hill Farm West Asheville, 1-5pm, $30 per person.
The trade show showcases a wide array of exhibitors and products: local farms, gardening suppliers, cottage industries, and several non-profits. Check the Organic Growers School website for a full list of exhibitors, updated regularly. Part of the trade show is a Seed and Plant Exchange booth where attendees may bring seeds and small plants to share, barter, or trade. Seed saving supplies and recommended readings will be provided.
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