Learn Organics, Spend the day at UNCA

Two hands on top of some soil having just planted a small, multi-leafed green plant

I think that if price were not a vital consideration in the decision making process of what we buy, most especially in the fruits and vegetable category, everyone would prefer to shop organic.

While I would argue with those that say it’s a huge price difference, in the current economic environment, it doesn’t have to be.  Groceries as a whole went up 4% in 2013 according to MSN money with some product, particularly those affected by regional droughts, seeing higher increases.  The outlook for 2014 regretfully is not brighter.  According to Bloomberg, Americans can expect another 3-4% added to their grocery bill..  Beef may top that prediction out at 5% with poultry and dairy products bringing up the back end.

All this price increase may make even the reluctant growers among us consider other alternatives and they are offered here in Asheville in spades.  On Saturday, March 8 and Sunday,  March 9, the University of North Carolina is hosting a series of workshops designed to provide information on growing organic.  These classes are available at knowledge levels from beginners never having sown a seed to the commercial growers that help create the thriving and vibrant tail gate markets Asheville is known for.  These classes will be coupled with a seed exchange, silent auction, trade shows even offering children’s programs (ages 7-12 for only $30 on Friday) and on-the-farm opportunities. 

The array of classes being presented is varied from Bee School to the joys and how to’s of your very first vegetable garden. 
If you can get registered as an early bird before February 17th,  the very reasonable rate is $45 for Saturdays classes and $40 for Sunday.  To procrastinate will cost you $15 dollars more.

In its 21 year, 70 classes will be offered and those taking classes can choose any four workshops they are keen to know more about.  It is an opportunity to learn from experts with varied regional experience and also experience  hands on opportunity to eat well, learn the land and a new skill along with the sheer joy of saving money while really knowing where your food came from creating food safety for you and your family.
I am a gardener and wild horses could not deter me from attending this perfect and varied learning forum but as it is a weekend, there is little doubt that I will be engaged in feeding our guests a hearty, tail gate inspired breakfast at our inn.  All my guests, both repeaters and newbies, have come to really enjoy the regionally accessible fruits and vegetables our Western North Carolina farmers work so hard to provide for us.

If you are at all interested, they’d love you to register and attend.  More information is available online at http://www.organicgrowersschool.org or call 828-342-1849. 

Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers

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