"Farm to Table: The Freshest Foods Are in Our Own Back Yards"

Robin Miller  |  12/21/2016 4:40:41 PM

Fresh foods from farm to table is the focus of the Ag Expo Gardening Seminar set for Jan. 14 at the West Monroe Convention Center.

The seventh annual gardening event is held in conjunction with Ag Expo 2017 and sponsored by the LSU AgCenter Northeast Louisiana Master Gardner program and the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council.

“In light of recent farm-to-school legislation introduced by Sen. Francis Thompson, we felt our topic is timely for this year’s seminar,” said Kerry Heafner, Ouachita Parish horticulture agent.

“Three expert speakers are featured this year, and we’ve wanted to get Judy Barrett here for some time to speak on edible landscaping,” he said.

Keynote speaker Judy Barrett is the founding editor and publisher of the online magazine “Homegrown: Good Sense Organic” and will present information from her newest book, “Easy Edibles: How to Grow and Enjoy Fresh Food.”

The author of several gardening books, Barrett holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously was editor of “The New Garden Journal” and one of the hosts of the public television series “The New Garden.”

David Young will discuss feeding those in need through community-based gardening. Young is founder of Capstone, a nonprofit organization begun in the New Orleans following hurricane Katrina that grows and shares food at no or reduced cost.

Capstone currently operates 24 community gardens and orchards in the lower 9th Ward and has expanded to include 2 acres in Plaquemines Parish.

John Cotton Dean, director of regional innovation for the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, will speak on building a community food movement from the ground up.

Dean has worked on local food and rural development initiatives in California, Oregon, Iowa and Louisiana, and has more than 10 years of research and professional experience focusing on developing food policy councils and rural economic development.

Registration begins 7:30 a.m., and the program will end at noon. Admission is $20. Preregistration is preferred, but participants may pay at the door.

Registration with checks made payable to NELAMG should be mailed to NELAMG, attention Ag Expo Gardening Seminar, 704 Cypress St., West Monroe, LA 71291.

For seminar information, contact the LSU AgCenter at 318-323-2251.

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