Sunday, April 19, 2009

Garden Fest: Building Community, Growing Vegetables

What an excellent gathering we had on Saturday!

Information table (thanks, Celia, for a wonderful vegetable display)

Planning a Garden information table: Sue Ercolini,
John Landers, Corrie Norman, Celia Melville and

Chuck Cruickshank (not in this photo).
Improving your soil (Karen Terry, Martha Duke and CU Student Organic Farm staff)

A first community event organized under the 'umbrella' of the Garden to promote growing your own food and finding locally-grown food and reaching out to folks of all ages and neighborhoods had literally hundreds of people at the tents at the far end of the Discovery Center parking area. The parking lot was almost continuously full for the 3 hour event, not a common occurrence.

Vegetable transplants were a hit, along with expert advice provided by CU Home and Garden Information Center staff Joey Williamson and Janet Scott along with Geoff Zehnder of CU Sustainable Agricultrue.

Kids had fun with Vegetable Twister,
coordinated by Sprouting Wings staff members
Allison O'Dell and Kendra Vincent,
along with SCBG volunteer Fred Mettlach

A planted Earth Box (check out the size of the chard!) - thanks to Upstate Locavores Ellie and Ted Taylor (and the donated Earth Box project)

The volunteer staff numbered over fifty dedicated folks from SC Master Gardeners, CU Home and Garden Information Center, CU Food Science , CU Sustainable Ag. Program, CU Student Organic Farm, Upstate Locavores, Students for Environmental Awareness, SCBG volunteers and staff, and dedicated 'independent' volunteers. Clemson Area Transit (CAT) provided free transportation from Clemson Community Care and Littlejohn Community Center, and an opportunity to find out about CAT.

Container Vegetable Gardening (Debra Strange, Dee Person, Linda Alston-Binic)

Planting in hay bales attracted a lot of attention, thanks to Dee Person's demo.

Information tables spanned 'Planning a Garden,' 'Improving your Soil,' 'Keeping Things Growing' to 'Container Vegetable Gardening'. Demo edible containers brought by Linda Alston-Binic and Debra Strange were always surrounded by a crowd.

The Heirloom Seeds table offered heirloom vegetable seeds collected by Dr. David Bradshaw ('graduated' CU professor of Horticulture) now maintained and sold by South Carolina Foundation Seed, through the Heirloom Vegetable Garden at SCBG. 'Preserving the Harvest' - staffed by CU faculty members from the Department of Food Science) encouraged folks to safely can, freeze, and dry vegetables and fruits, extending the season throughout the year.

The Upstate Locavores, who initiated this event (thanks, Ellie, Catherine, and Steve!), provided information about local farmers' markets, how to find local food, crop sharing, and regional resources.Students for Environmental Awareness helped with set-up.

The Garden unveiled our new gift shop offerings and promoted supporting the Garden (anyone who follows the state budget will realize how vital our outside support is to our continued survival and growth, and how much we depend and appreciate the support of our visitors, members, and donors).


gardengirl said...

I hate that I missed it it looks fabulous. Earth boxes and hay bales? I need to know more!

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