Organic Growers School comes to Asheville March 6, 7

Registration is now open for the upcoming Organic Growers School Spring Conference that will be held at UNCA on Saturday and Sunday, March 6 and 7. This year, the OGS is offering over 100 classes and workshops. More than 1,300 farmers, gardeners, activists and consumers are expected to gather for the southeast’s largest sustainable living conference.

Workshops will cover topics ranging from cover crops to vermi-composting, pest management to year-round growing. Workshops titles include “Beautiful and Delicious: Designing a Productive Edible Landscape” and “Organic Farming: What to Expect Your First Year.”

In addition to classes on organic gardening and farming, workshop categories include alternative crops, cooking, sustainable forestry, permaculture, and herbs. Classes offered range from growing truffles to making maple syrup and cover a wide range of experience levels — novice through advanced.

Most of the workshops run for an hour and thirty minutes, but hands-on, half day workshops are also offered. These will allow participants to get hands-on experience in topics such as edible weeds and natural beekeeping, to name just a couple. One highlight this year, says Coordinator Meredith McKissick, will be a workshop on raising heritage poultry with national poultry expert Jim Adkins. For over 30 years, Adkins has raised more than 50 breeds and varieties of poultry, including chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys.

New to the OGS this year, “Salon Revivals” are being offered the evening of Saturday, March 6. The salons will be gatherings at downtown spots—The Dripolator, Firestorm Café, and Nest Organics— to discuss and learn about social, political and cultural activism related to organic agriculture. Topics include food safety, accessibility of organics, and farm-to-table programs in school, a hot topic in relation to Michelle Obama’s recent initiative against childhood obesity.  The salons are free and open to the public.

And for the kids, the OGS is offering a daylong children’s program where youngsters will learn with activities and music as you attend.

Registration is $55 per day for general registration. The children’s program is for kids (ages 7-12), and costs $30 per day. Half-day workshops and cooking classes are an additional $5 each. For more information and to register go to

The OGS organizers need your help. If you are interested in volunteering for this year’s school, contact Meredith McKessick at 828-582-5039 or

In related news, the Organic Growers School is looking for a farmer programs outreach and development assistant who will report to the organization’s farmer education committee. Go here for details:


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