21st Annual Organic Growers School

Spring Conference for Gardeners and Farmers
Saturday & Sunday, March 8 & 9, 2014.
The University of NC at Asheville, in Asheville, NC

DSC_0720Participants may choose any four workshops from among the 70 offered in the themed tracks and hands-on, half-day workshops. The themed tracks are as follows: Digging In, Gardening, Soils, Livestock, Commercial Farmers I and Commercial Farmers II, Primitive Skills, Permaculture, Herbs, Sustainable Forestry, Homesteading, Cooking, and All About Poultry. New this year is the Pollinators track, where attendees will learn about creating pollinator-friendly environments and fostering pollinator populations.

Worshops

Among the specific workshops offered are: Anyone Can Garden Anywhere, Starting Your First Vegetable Garden, Vermicomposting for Fun and Profit, Meat Rabbit Production, Micro-Hydro Electricity, Solar Hot Water Heating, Organic Control of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Commercial Organic Lettuce Production, Wrangling the Tangle: Kudzu Cuisine, Craft, and Cultivation, Create a Pollinator Paradise, Urban Permaculture in Action: An Introduction, The Herbal Medicine Cabinet, Growing & Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal, and other Woodland Medicinals, Keeping a Family Dairy Cow, Easy Kimchi at Home, Farming for Bees and other Beneficial Insects, DIY Mozzarella, and more!

Half day hands-on workshops with smaller numbers of participants are offered in: FAMACHA Certification for Small Ruminant Producers, Sheep, Catch a Fire, The Art of Making Miso, Drop Spindle Spinning, Intro to Natural Dyes, Spoon Carving, Treatment-free Beekeeping for BEEginners!

Kids Program

The Organic Growers School is proud to offer its 10th annual program for kids. This year’s Children’s Program DSC_0134focuses on the importance of the environment and alternative energy sources. 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 the environment through numerous hands-on activities involving plants, animals, insects, and food. Cost is $30 per child.

Trade Show

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.

Silent Auction

A silent auction will run all weekend, giving participants the chance to bid on items donated by related businesses, such as organic home 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 meredith@organicgrowersschool.org.

Seed & Plant Exchange

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.

Sponsors

The major sponsors of the 21st Annual Organic Growers School are Carolina Farm Credit, Greenlife Grocery, Biltmore, and Mountain Rose Herbs with additional sponsorship support from Fifth Season Gardening, Blue Ridge Naturally, Earth Tools, Banner Greenhouses, Blue Ridge BioFuels, Early Girl Eatery, Nature’s NOG, Red Moon Herbs, Reem’s Creek Nursery, and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

DSC_0099The Organic Growers School is organized annually by the Organic Growers School INC, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Cost

The cost for the all-day conference is $45 on Saturday and $40 on Sunday for those who pre-register by February 17th by midnight. Registration for the Children’s Program is $30. An additional $15 is charged for registration after February 17th or the day of the school (between 7:30 and 8:30am) totaling $60 for Saturday and $55 for Sunday. Registration for the half-day hands-on workshops and cooking classes is an additional $5 per workshop and requires pre-registration.

Interested participants may register on-line at www.organicgrowersschool.org, register by phone at (828) 342-1849, or request a mailed registration form from meredith@organicgrowersschool.org or (828) 668-2127.  Registration forms are also available at area outlets such as Earth Fare, Greenlife Grocery, other sponsor’s retail stores, and area Cooperative Extension offices. All other inquiries: Contact Coordinator Meredith Leigh McKissick at meredith@organicgrowersschool.org or call (828) 668-2127

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Organic Growers School is a non-profit organization providing organic education since 1993. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and support people in our region to farm, garden, and live organically.