URBANA, Ill. - Organic gardening experts from around the country will present five educational sessions to inspire pesticide-free gardening at this year’s Organic Gardening Day, Saturday, Nov. 9, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Urbana.
Chuck Voigt, University of Illinois vegetable and crops specialist and coordinator of the event, said he is particularly pleased with the line-up of speakers for this year’s sessions.
John Bagnasco, from SuperNaturals Natural Vegetables in Vista, Calif., will provide up-to-date information about the practice of grafting heirloom vegetables onto more productive and disease-resistant rootstocks. “This practice is exploding in popularity around the world and getting a running start here in the United States,” Voigt said. Bagnasco is a horticulture graduate of Michigan State University, has worked in the gardening industry for over 35 years, and is a co-host of the GardenLife radio program. His second talk will center on another one of his horticultural passions – rescuing and growing endangered roses.
Karen Geiser, of Karen’s Garden Delights in Kidron, Ohio, is the sixth generation on a family farm settled by Swiss ancestors in 1822. Geiser grows vegetables, herbs, flowers, sugarcane, fruits, and berries on about two acres. To feed her family and grow produce for sale through as much of the year as possible, she has worked with high tunnels, low tunnels, cold frames, and other season extenders. “Because there’s only so much you can do to grow food through a midwestern winter, she has also learned a great deal about eating with the seasons and will share some of that wisdom with us,” Voigt said.
Jessica Goren, executive chef at Big Grove Tavern in downtown Champaign, Ill., will do an autumn fruits and vegetables cooking demonstration. Goren previously worked as a chef at the Thirsty Bear Restaurant in San Francisco, Calif., before moving to Champaign. “She advocates eating locally and tries to adhere to that as much as possible through the seasons at her restaurant here in Illinois, which presents a greater challenge than in California,” Voigt said.
In addition to the speakers, there will be a retail area selling a broad range of gardening products.
Advance registration of $60, which includes an organic lunch, must be received by Nov. 1. For more information, contact Linda Harvey by calling 217-244-1693 or send an email to email@example.com.
On-site registration on Nov. 9 begins at 8 a.m., will continue only as long as space allows, and will not guarantee lunch. The first educational session begins promptly at 9 a.m.