K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County and its Master Gardeners, 4-H Clubs, and Master Food Volunteers are partnering to promote and distribute research-based information in a special event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 27, in Building 21 at the Douglas County 4- H Fairgrounds.
Bill Wood, County Extension Director, says the Extension office has seen an increase in the number of people who are interested in growing their own food in the past few years, and a big part of the fair will focus on that appeal.
“I think the interest is for a lot of reasons,” Wood says. “Security is one. If we lose a job or have less expendable income for some reason, raising some of our own food might be an option of a way to help ourselves.”
Wood also thinks there is a heightened awareness of health and healthy lifestyles in Lawrence and Douglas County.
“I think we all know the benefits of getting outdoors, getting exercise, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables,” he says.
The second focus of the Fair is on having more environmentally friendly lawns and landscapes. Extension Master Gardeners will have tables and displays on everything from soil improvement and composting to what kinds of tools to use.
“Basically, the event is for education,” says Master Gardener Kathy Wilson, who is chairing the event’s organization committee. “It’s not just to look at pretty plants, but how to make your garden or yard more healthy or use more healthy things.”
Wilson says she thinks it is hard for people to get started gardening for the first time, especially if they have poor soil and are dealing with typical eastern Kansas weather. “If you just start and don’t do anything to your soil or don’t know what to plant, you might not be successful and want to do it again.”
Wilson and her fellow Extension Master Gardeners work to provide people with the resources they need to be better gardeners.
Growing your own food and making smart choices is about more than gardening, though, and that’s where the other extension programs play a role in the event. In addition to the Master Gardener displays, you can expect:
• Wood, who provides agriculture education in addition to his role as director, will be set up to answer questions about managing small acreages and livestock and about living in the country.
• The 4-H Poultry Project Club will bring baby chicks to see and can answer questions about raising chickens.
• Master Food Volunteers will provide information on cooking, food safety, and food preservation.
• 4-H club members will share talks and demonstrations that they put together for local and regional competitions. The talks are on a variety of topics and will be given every hour.
• 4-H Ambassadors, Extension Master Gardeners, Master Food Volunteers, and Extension staff will be present to answer questions about joining or volunteering with their organizations.
• There will also be a raffle and a few garden items for sale, and KLWN is broadcasting live from the event from 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
Stop by and see us Saturday!
— Jennifer Smith is the Horticulture Extension Agent for K-State Research and Extension — Douglas County and can be reached at 843-7058.