Learning Together: Organic Growers School Hosts 4th Annual Harvest Conference

Organic Growers School (OGS) will host the upcoming 4th annual Harvest Conference, for backyard gardeners, urban farmers, and homesteaders of all skill levels on Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9, at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa.

The event focuses on fall & winter growing, food preservation & storage, fermentation, cooking from scratch, and sustainability skills. The learning continues on Sunday with a Root Crop Production workshop at LIving Web Farms in Mills River.

The event focuses on fall and winter growing, food preservation and storage, fermentation, cooking from scratch, and sustainability skills. The learning continues on Sunday with a Root Crop Production workshop at Living Web Farms in Mills River.

Organic Growers School has been educating commercial farmers, urban farmers, homesteaders, permaculturalists, and rural growers in all aspects of organic production since 1993.

“We see a strong need in the home and community growing populations for support, skill and confidence building, and social motivation,” said Lee Warren, executive director of the Asheville-based nonprofit. “We’d like to see every person in our community growing,” says Warren, who envisions gardens, orchards, and chickens in every yard, “because regional food security and a sustainable food movement are dependant on an engaged population of organic growers.”

Learning together is what the Harvest Conference is all about, and conference participants will have the opportunity to take part in day-long workshops on Friday, Sept. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday workshops include Healing with the 5 Elements: Explore the Power of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Patricia Kyritsi Howell, Wild Food Forage Adventure with Alan Muskat, and Fall & Winter Gardening: Yes, You Can! with Diana Schmitt McCall.

The Saturday, Sept. 9, Harvest Conference schedule, also at Warren Wilson College, features more than twenty sessions with 3-hour morning sessions covering Whole Hog Butchery and Charcuterie, Hemp in the 21st Century, Beyond Diversity: A Racial Equity Path to Food Justice, an Introduction to Permaculture, and so much more.

A bonus Sunday, Sept.10, event takes place with the Organic Growers School’s education partner, Living Web Farms in Mills River, NC. The workshops teach about the best varieties, planting times, expected harvest schedules, nutritional requirements, and disease and insect protection for a diversity of root vegetable crops and covers common crops such as beets, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas as well as less common crops like salsify, Jerusalem artichokes, and yacon.

The teachers and topics for all three days of the 4th Annual Harvest Conference represent a wide array of regional wisdom on all aspects of health, wellness, and sustainable living. The Saturday event also hosts a trade show with exhibitors such as 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. Lunch will be available on-site at the Warren Wilson College Campus.

Cost for the Friday, day-long workshops is $70. Cost for the Saturday event is $50. OGS offers down-to-earth advice on growing and sustainable living, while remaining affordable and accessible.

More information and registration can be found online at http://organicgrowersschool.org/events/harvest-conference/ or by emailing rod@organicgrowersschool.org.

About Shelby Harrell

Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.