Build It Up Update
Just after our last update with y’all, we had our first workshop of 2022. It was held in person at local community center and simultaneously livestreamed on Zoom. The in-person turnout was awesome! We had about 35 folks in person and 10 online. It was so great getting to see and interact with gardening families in-person again and the engagement was through the roof! Our next workshop is this upcoming Monday where we will plan to have the same setup.
We’ve also been working on engaging our gardening families with some of the other programs we run. Several have participated in field school and women farmer circles. And they continue to gravitate to all the cool things we’re offering this year.
We have a lot planned for this month. Seed pick ups, tool pick ups, and our big plant pick up towards the end of April. But you know what they great thing about pickups is? Getting to interact with our families and give them the materials and education to grow their own food. What a treat it is to be a part of something so amazing!
Due to extra funding, we are planning a ton of extra workshops this year and deep diving into a bunch of agricultural topics the community is interested in. Just today, I launched Summer Field School 2022, a program designed to educate beginning farmers on small, sustainable production farming. We will be visiting 8 farms this summer, each successful produce and livestock farms. For more information, visit our registration platform.
Taylor, my coworker, conducted and elderberry production workshop that taught local farmers how to incorporate elderberries in a profitable way onto the farm. We had Missouri expert, Terry Durham, out to teach about different varieties, growing techniques, and the ways in which they can be very profitable for a small farm. Folks got to practice pruning elderberry bushes, making cuttings to plant, and visiting farms with successful elderberry crops.
We also conducted a Mushroom Inoculation workshop with our women farmer group which was a great success. We had about 30 women come out and learn about types of wood that’s best for different types of mushrooms, learn to drill the holes, how to inoculate mushroom spawn into the logs, and seal it with wax. A local specialist, Rodney Webb, came out and taught the class.
For the next two months in Build It Up, we will have a local UT Extension agent teach our May and June workshops on pest and disease control. Lexy is going on maternity leave May, June, and July to spend time with her sweet new babe due in May (yay!). It will be a busy few months, but nothing I can’t handle! For my other programming, I will be conducting a workshop for women farmers on grafting fruit trees and another for Summer Field School on medicinal herb farming and forest farming! I can honestly say I love what I do!