Organic Growers School 2011

This past weekend Eliza and I attended the 18th annual Organic Growers School up in Asheville, NC.  This is the second year that I have gone this event and I found it wonderfully educational and enjoyable.  Attendees have the choice of multiple classes on a wide variety of topics to sit in each day they attend (they take four classes a day).  Each class is an hour and a half long and cover things like back yard gardening, chicken raising, modern homesteading, or preserving harvests.  Both Eliza and I felt like we gladly would have attended classes all week-long because there are so many amazing options and the tight schedule makes it impossible to fit them all in.

I really enjoyed my time at the Organic Growers School last year, but I think that this year was even better because I have now had a full season of practicing organic gardening and I also have my own yard to work with now.  Thus a lot of the information felt more familiar and directly relevent. 

Probably the most useful two classes I took this past weekend dealt with raising chickens, a topic I only know a little about.  These were helpful because come May I will be raising my own egg chickens in my back yard.   One of the most important things I have learned from these two classes is how useless the store-bought “chicken wire” is at actually keeping chickens safe from predators.  Supposedly raccoons are more than capable of pulling this woven hexagonal wire apart and grabbing the birds.  Having recently seen a raccoon in my back yard I certainly want to assure that my chickens will have a more secure enclosure.

Several of the other classes provided interesting information and insights about growing vegetables and fruits that I was not previously aware of.  I was particularly fond of the presentations by Chuck Marsh and Chip Hope who both bring such great enthusiasm and passion to the fields of organic gardening and farming.  I also really likes listening to Phillip Ackerman-Leist talking about his family’s homesteading adventures up in Vermont (my lovely birth state and childhood abode.  Parts of his presentation made my heart ache for the beautiful green mounts – though not for the wretched winter they are having this year). 

All and all it was a great (and very reasonably affordable) weekend of learning and enjoy the culture of growing good food and encouraging sustainable culture.  I can’t wait to see what classes will be available next year.

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~ by Nathaniel on March 7, 2011.

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