Organic Growers School will hold its first annual Harvest Conference at A-B Tech on Saturday, Sept. 6. The event is geared toward urban farmers, homesteaders, and backyard growers with workshops and classes offering tips for successful fall and winter growing.
Jenn Cloke, communications coordinator for Organic Growers School, says the Harvest Conference was launched to complement the organization’s Spring Conference, which has been held annually since 1994.
“The Spring Conference has served as a way to kick off the growing season…but as many growers can tell you, the beginning of the growing season is a very different beast from the end of the growing season,” Cloke explains. “We’ve long heard the demand for an educational event that addresses not only how to begin the season but also how to wrap it up.”
“Growers want to know what they can still sow when the mercury drops, how to winterize their chicken coops, and how to make the bounty of the summer last as long as they can,” Cloke continues. “The Organic Growers School wants to be there to offer some guidance and inspiration when things begin to slow down and growers start looking to the next year.”
The conference will feature more than 25 workshops on topics such as food preservation, home cooking, seed saving, herbal medicine, composting, pickling, fermented bread making, creative use of excess harvest, plant identification and season extension. A number of local aficionados will be on hand, including keynote speaker Janisse Ray, a naturalist and author of five books including Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Ray will present her address, “A Field Guide to Hope,” at A-B Tech at 8 p.m.
The Harvest Conference will launch with pre-conference workshops held at Warren Wilson College on Friday, Sept. 5. Speakers include Alan Muskat, forarger and author of Wild Mushrooms: A Taste of Enchantment; Marc Williams, ethnobotanist and director of Plants and Healers International; and Natalie Bogwalker, founder and director of the Wild Abundance, the Living Skills School, and the Firefly Gathering.
Muskat, Williams and Bogwalker will lead half-day workshops at the pre-conference, while Ray will also be on hand to lead a full-day workshop on place-based creative writing. Separate registration is required for the pre-conference events and closes on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. The cost is $40 for each half-day workshop or $70 for two. The cost for Ray’s full day workshop is $70.
Registration for the Harvest Conference, which includes all the Saturday classes and the keynote address from Ray, is $40 and is only available in advance. For more information or to register visit the OGS website or call 772-5846.
For more on the Harvest Conference, read Erik Peake’s interview with Janisse Ray. Check our website this weekend for more conference coverage from Josh O’Conner, or follow O’Conner on Twitter at @joshoconner and @mxnews.