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Mother Earth News Fair Part 1
Mother Earth News Fair Part 1. Sorry, it took so long to post this article about my trip to the Mother Earth News Fair. Well, I must say that I’m officially high after attending the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC. No, not high as in smoking marijuana but high on getting so much EARTH CARE knowledge. I met so many people interested in learning about: sustainability, conserving the earth, farming, and other green practices. This is part 1 of the Mother Earth News Fair. Check out part 2 tomorrow.
I attended the fair with other board members and volunteers from (TANWP)The Action Not Words Project nonprofit. We’re getting ready to move into a new office in Lithonia, GA, and will build three tiny homes and a community garden for our mobile market. This garden and market will benefit homeless veterans and senior citizens in DeKalb county. Also, the tiny houses we build will serve as a test site and an example of what the bigger sustainable eco-village we will be building in DeKalb county within the next year.
The Mother Earth News Fair took place April 11-12 and featured lots of workshops from top sustainable lifestyle experts. I want to share a few highlights from the workshops I attended.
The Mother Earth New Fair Workshop Speakers
Gardening in a Small Space
Shawna Coronado taught the, How to Grow 35-40 Organic Plants Within a Two Square Foot Garden Workshop.
Shawna is a gardener, garden diva, spokesperson, TED Talk presenter, newspaper columnist, and photographer. Whew! She’s got skills. She created a dream garden in the front and back yards of her Chicago land home. Most of this was done using vertical spaces in the way of window garden boxes.
She has a great personality—feisty, hella funny, very informative. Shawna was my favorite Mother Earth News Fair workshop presenter. Love her story about being fined by the city and telling them to kiss her green a**
Workshop Highlights About Gardening in a Small Space
She recommends doing four steps to create a small garden where you do ZERO weeding
- Use window boxes. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a cold or warm climate. Or whether inside a tiny apt. or outside a house. Just buy one of the various versions of window boxes or build one.
- Mix your soil. Her recipe is 1/3 traditional compost, 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 rotting manure. This mixture will mean less watering for the plants and a strong root system.
- Grow the right types of plants: leafy vegetables, small vegetables, shade vegetables. Don’t do root vegetables or fruits.
- Water with a rain wand or use a watering system to make it easier to water and conserve water usage.
Check out her Ted Talk:
Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop taught the Restoring Pollinators Workshop. She’s a cut flower farmer in Virginia who supplies cut flowers to Whole Foods and other major retailers. Lisa has been a farmer for more than 20 years and had a great presentation. Her advice is useful for new and advanced gardeners. Definitely a great guest speaker for the Mother Earth News Fair.
Workshop Highlights Gardeners Will Love
- It takes two years to restore soil from chemical pesticides. So please don’t use chemicals!
- Ladybugs, (which are a gardener’s friend), at the larval stage eat more bad bugs than at any other stage in their life cycle.
- Don’t be scared of wasps. They eat the bad bugs in your garden, (like caterpillars)
- Buckwheat is the easiest cover crop to grow. A cover crop is a crop grown to manage and protect the soil, control weeds, protect against diseases, and help your main crop to be established.
- To protect the crop of large farms, install perches to accommodate vultures since they eat rodents.
- A pair of owls will eat 1000 rodents for one month. That’s a lot of chow!
Use soil blocking to plant more and save time. The plants fruit or flower two to three weeks sooner than using any other seed starting method. Soil blocking is a technique where you start seeds indoors using a blocker with a certain mix of soil and a heat mat. Lisa uses a mini blocker. By her DVD that outlines this technique here
Check out the preview video:
Side Note—The Animals Were Not Happy!
I didn’t take lots of pictures of the animals since many of them were unhappy. Some goats were shaking, hiding in the corner of sectioned off areas. A mother camel with her baby resting at her feet was moaning loudly while a handler fed her carrots. The handler said that the camel wanted to go back to her normal living space. I overheard a woman that had a booth with some caged roosters say she hates transporting the animals for the shows because it distresses them not being back at the farm. I made sure to talk gently to each animal I came in contact with and asked how they were doing to soothe them.
Check out part 2 of the Mother Earth News Fair tomorrow.