Organic Growers School Hosts 5th Annual Harvest Conference

— Written By Kerri Rayburn
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ASHEVILLE, N.C.–The 5th Annual Harvest Conference is an educational event hosted by Organic Growers School (OGS), a 501c3 nonprofit offering affordable classes on organic growing and sustainable living. The conference takes place Friday to Saturday, Sept. 7–8, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (both days) at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC. It will feature three intensive 2-day workshops with the option to register for the first day (Friday) of any workshop or both days (Friday and Saturday) for a more in-depth experience. OGS is also hosting a free bonus event with Monica Corrado—Reclaim Nutrition to Reclaim Your Health—on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Warren Wilson College.

The three workshops being offered, each in a 2-day intensive format, are as follows:

The Sustainable Poultry Flock: Breeding, Growing, and Marketing at Any Scale with instructor Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network USA.

Tending Your Inner Garden: Tools for Cultivating a Healthy Gut with instructor Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well.

Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae: Infinite Possibilities for Innovation with instructor Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain.

In The Sustainable Poultry Flock, instructor Jim Adkins will explain how to bring back heirloom breeds of pastured poultry to our plates, farmyards, and communities through the 5 Pillars of Sustainable Poultry Production: 1) Breeding, 2) Growing, 3) Feeding, 4) Processing, and 5) Marketing and Education. The workshop will include a breeding analysis and a slaughter and butcher demo. Students will receive a training manual filled with resources, including budget overviews, facility plans, pasture-growing strategies, feeding instructions, and proper feed recipes.

For the past 30 years, Jim Adkins has raised over 50 breeds and varieties of standard-bred poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys) and taught poultry field days and workshops around the world. For several years he worked in the commercial turkey industry, supervising several ranches that raised over 450,000 turkeys annually. Jim founded the Sustainable Poultry Network USA in 2010. He travels the country speaking, instructing, coaching, and mentoring poultry enthusiasts.

In Tending Your Inner Garden, very special guest instructor Monica Corrado will discuss the mounting evidence that chronic conditions (such as cancer, depression, and allergies) find their origin in the digestive system and offer accessible and non-clinical advice about healing the gut. A teaching chef, holistic nutritionist, certified GAPS™ practitioner and creator of Simply Being Well, Monica will address health issues holistically through simple, do-it-yourself techniques on nutrient-dense cooking and whole-foods eating. Topics include 1) meat stock and bone broth, 2) lacto-fermentation, 3) cultured dairy, and 4) preparing nuts, seeds, grains, and beans for optimal digestion.

Lee Warren, Executive Director of OGS and co-coordinator of the Harvest Conference, is thrilled to bring Monica Corrado, a resident of Colorado, to Western NC for this program. “I’ve been working with Monica in other capacities for ten years and just adore her teaching style, enthusiasm, and breadth of knowledge on this topic. With the prolific nature of leaky gut and other digestive system diseases, we all need this information about how to improve our health.” She adds that “Monica’s do-it-yourself approach is life-changing. And her teaching style is infectious.”

Back by popular demand and expanded for this year’s conference, Tradd CotterMushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae workshop is open to beginner and advanced students alike. Tradd will cover how to 1) identify, prepare, collect, and store medicinal mushrooms; 2) incorporate edible mushrooms and beneficial fungi into farm and gardens; 3) understand mycelial life cycles and inter-kingdom interactions; 4) cultivate mushrooms on logs, stumps, wood chips, compost, straw, and agriculture waste; 5) recycle mushrooms for home and business waste; and 6) clean contaminated soils and polluted water through mycoremediation.

Tradd is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener who has been culturing tissue, collecting native fungi in the Southeast, and cultivating both commercially and experimentally for more than 22 years. At Mushroom Mountain<, he maintains over 200 species of fungi for food production, mycoremediation of environmental pollutants, and natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. Tradd is also the author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation (Chelsea Green, 2014).

“Tradd is a treasure in our region,” says Sera Deva, the Program Coordinator for the Harvest Conference. “His interest in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies allows this topic to be super accessible to the average person.”

The cost for The Sustainable Poultry Flock and Tending Your Inner Garden is $150 for Friday and Saturday and $90 for Friday Only. The cost for Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycorrhizae, which includes a $15 materials fee, is $165 for Friday and Saturday and $105 for Friday Only.

The goal of OGS is clear: reclaim agriculture at the local level. To achieve this, OGS offers practical, hands-on, and accessible workshops that help each grower feel inspired, educated, and supported to live, farm, and garden organically.

About Organic Growers School

The Harvest Conference is organized annually by Organic Growers School, a 501(c)3 non-profit. OGS is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food and farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in the Western North Carolina (WNC) region. Since 1993, OGS’ hands-on training, workshops, conferences, and partnerships have strengthened each grower’s move towards sustainability and have reinforced WNC’s role as a regional leader in organic growing.

–Lee Warren, Organic Growers School