Our Spring Planting Festival Was A Big Success
People who came from many different states across the country to attend Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company's 13th Annual Spring Planting Festival at Bakersville Pioneer Village were glad they made the trip. Even thought the weather on Sunday was not exactly conducive to an outdoor festival, there were still long lines of visitors waiting for the gates to open on the first day of the spring planting celebration. Monday's nicer weather encouraged a very good attendance for the 2nd day of the festival. Overall, more than 6,500 people from at least 35 states and Canada, Mexico, Holland, and Belize took part in the festivities.
More that 120 vendors provided visitors with an abundance of gardening, craft, homesteading, sustainable, and other choices of goods and services. One could buy everything from bunnies and chicks, to hand sewn aprons, wood crafted items, and organic feeds and fertilizers. While attendees in the past have had few choices of eating venues at the festival, Baker Creek staff made a real effort to remedy that situation this year. In addition to the traditional vegan fare served at the Bakersville Asian Restaurant and Baker's Flour Mill bakery, other options included beans and cornbread served from the outdoor wood fired stone oven and vegetarian wraps served from the food shack, as well as various food trucks and vendor booths providing organic and healthy foods.
As always, some folks came to the festival solely for the old time music. They enjoyed ongoing music all day on two different stages with music acts from both coasts and in between, and were audience to the National Folk Music Contest, took part in the jam session at the jamming barn, or simply enjoyed live music as they dined in the restaurant.
The nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers often presented to large crowds. Percy Schmeiser drew an unusually large crowd as he spoke about his long, drawn out ordeal with Monsanto. The big ag company sued the Canadian canola farmer for technology fees after Monsanto's genetically modified canola contaminated Schmeiser's organic canola crops and he replanted the seed. He countersued, and the case went all the way to the Canadian supreme court.
People also came from far and wide to hear international food activist Ronnie Cummins, founder and director of Organic Consumers Association, speak about the “The Food Fight of Our Lives.” Ira Wallace of Virginia gave a popular presentation about year-round gardening. Dr. William Woys Weaver enlightened his audiences with his presentations about “Cooking with Heirlooms” and “History of the Kitchen Garden.” Dr. Oscar H. Will, III, Editor in Chief of Grit magazine gave a presentation about “Partnering with Animals in the Garden and Field.”
Dr. John Valenzuela, president of the Golden Gate Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers informed listeners about the “Origins of West Coast Fruit.” New Mexico biodiversity researcher Dr. Jeff Nekola and his partner Linda Fey spoke extensively about growing garlic, while Missouri herbalist Jim Long spoke about growing and using the ten most popular herbs. California farmer and horticulturist Christian Dake gave a presentation titled “Flavors from Around the World in Your Garden.” Local beekeeper and honey producer John Brazaitis, Sr. interested the honey bee crowd with his presentation on organic beekeeping..
The kids' tent was filled with children of all ages throughout the two days. The young folks enjoyed digging for buried money in the sand pit, making pine cone bird feeders, planting seeds, participating in sing-alongs with Ezra and Dill, as well as playing numerous fun and educational games.
As the Baker Creek staff cleans up the grounds today and clears the remnants of another successful Spring Planting Festival, we are already beginning to look ahead and plan for our 14th annual event in May, 2014. Make your plans now to attend next year.