The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket will host free backyard farming workshops every Saturday morning in June and July at 10:30 a.m. Workshops will cover topics about food security, backyard vegetable gardening, cheese making, pickling and canning, backyard beekeeping and seed saving.
This year’s workshop series is titled “When the Shelves Go Bare” and deals with increased concerns about a potential future food shortage. Presenters include organic farmers, master gardeners, artisans and business owners, either a local or a transplant from places as diverse as Cuba, Switzerland, Russia or Brazil.
Although workshops are free, small donations are welcomed. The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket strives to support local growers, bakers and artisans. There will be a Q&A session following each presentation. The goal is for participants to walk away with basic knowledge of a given topic, and the resources and contacts to learn more, in order to put these skills to good use within our community.
While this year’s workshops have focused on a bare shelves scenario to impart a sense of urgency, the GreenMarket has been introducing residents to sustainable practices through free summer workshops for eight years, as a hobby, and a healthy activity as a way to reduce our carbon footprint and have a lesser impact on the environment. This June and July, the presentations will focus on strategies to produce the most nutritious food in the least space, as well as processing and preserving it. Local growers currently at the market include SOL Urban Farm, Green Paradise Eco Farm, Brittain Farms, Pine Manor Community Garden and The Unruly Gardener.
“Having grown up in America, most of us almost take plentiful, affordable supply of food for granted,” says organic farmer and GreenMarket Manager Santiago De Choch. “Lulled into complacency by decades of remarkable stability, we have lost touch with the knowledge of the backyard gardener, the beekeeper, the cheesemaker. However, those are useful skills to have when one is going through personal financial hard times, or the shelves go bare for any reason.”
What: “When the Shelves Go Bare” – urban farming workshops
When: Every Saturday morning in June and July at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket, 10091 McGregor Blvd, Ft Myers FL 33919
Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m.
Bare Shelves and What to Do About It presented by Santiago De Choch – local farmer, world traveler, GreenMarket manager
Saturday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m.
Healthy Soil, Abundant Crop presented by Alex Perez, who sold his landscaping business in Miami to move to southwest Florida and farm organically
Saturday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m.
Propagating the Future: Seed Saving in the 21st Century presented by Millisa Bell, homestead farmer and organic gardener
Saturday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Growing Medicinal Herbs presented by Tatiana Logvinova, from Russia to Cuba to southwest Florida, a lifetime of loving nature
Saturday, July 1 at 10:30 a.m.
Growing Edible Mushrooms Indoors presented by Ken Ryan, award winning specialty grower and business owner
Saturday, July 8 at 10:30 a.m.
Pickling and Canning presented by Robert Pascuzzi, restaurant owner, executive chef and pitmaster
Saturday, July 15 at 10:30 a.m.
Raising Small Animals for Eggs & Meat presented by Millisa Bell, homestead farmer and organic gardener
Saturday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m.
An Introduction to Cheese Making presented by Caroline Hostettler, cheese connoisseur, business owner and world traveler
Saturday, July 29 at 10:30 a.m.
Backyard Beekeeping presented by Claudia Silveira, beekeeper, environmentalist and candlemaker