Weaving Edible Landscapes—Urban Ag and Community Gardens—into the Fabric of Our Communities
Join Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) and partner Marbles Kids Museum for Dig In!, exploring urban agriculture, community gardens, and edible gardens in schools and child care settings. Gain inspiration from our Pecha Kucha style stories to kick off the day, participate in how-to workshops, network with others, and hear from keynoter Soyini Guyton, co-founder of Frogtown Farm, a food justice nonprofit and public urban farm in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dig In! features 4 tracks of concurrent workshops. Here's a snapshot of the day, and the full agenda follows below:
8:15 am-1:30 pm:
Check-in, Workshops, Keynote & Lunch
10:30 am-2:00 pm:
Educational Booths and Sun Sprouts Garden Fun
WHO SHOULD COME?
Whether you are already gardening or thinking about it, Dig In! has workshops, resources and expertise you can use. We invite anyone interested in urban farms, community gardens, and edible school and child care gardens and how they can transform communities in Wake County to join us for learning and networking.
- Churches and other faith-based organizations
- Municipal planning and parks and recreation staff
- Teachers and school administrators (WCPSS teachers may earn 3.5 hours of CEUs.)
- Child care/preschool directors and staff (3.5 contact hours approved)
- Business leaders
- Non-profit organizations
- Health and community advocates
- HOA leaders and members
- Master gardeners
Dig In! is for adults and teens. Child care is not provided for Dig In! registrants. Children and families are welcome to visit the educational booths and the Sun Sprouts Garden, as well as all the usual fun at Marbles Kids Museum.
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Storytelling: Urban Farms/Gardens and Food Access in Wake County
We’re borrowing the popular Pecha Kucha presentation style to share quick snapshots of amazing food access work in Wake County. Feast on this visual showcase of local urban agriculture and gardening. Featuring:
- Johnson Pond Learning Center, a child care center in Fuquay-Varina: Laurie Morrison
- Hunger Relief, William Winslow-aka The Food Drive Kid
- The Food Ark at local high schools: Mackenzie Dion
- Holly Springs Food Cupboard: Jerry DeWitt
- Edible Plantings on NCSU Greenways, Anne Spafford
Concurrent Workshops (choose 1 to attend from the track of your choice)
- SCHOOLS TRACK: Growing Sustainable School Gardens & Achieving Academic Success
School gardens grow food, experiential learning AND successful students! Learn how schools are increasing standardized test pass rates 12-15% and how student engagement grows as the gardens do.
Learn what to consider in starting a school garden in Wake County, and hear from Edna Chirico of REAL School Gardens, Carolinas Region, and Suzanne Beckman, Berryhill Elementary in Charlotte about how to effectively engage students in outdoor learning aligned to NC curriculum and what it takes to grow teaching teams and support sustainable outdoor learning. Let’s grow together! (K-8)
- CHILD CARE TRACK: Gardening in NC: What to Grow When & Understanding Regulations
What should you consider when starting an edible garden at your child care facility? Everything from where to place the garden to what is permitted in terms of regulations, especially if your facility participates in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Hear from Rich Woynicz of Wake County Extension Master Gardeners on the basics of starting and growing your garden, including what to plant, when and how. Jennifer Kozaczek, RD, LD, with the NC Department of Health and Human Services Nutrition Services Branch, will dispel myths and misconceptions of what is allowed and what isn’t. Understand gardening, composting and cooking rules and regulations in North Carolina, and what is reimbursable for CACFP when it comes to gardens and local produce. Let the growing begin!
- COMMUNITY GARDENS TRACK: CG 101: How to Start a Garden and How to Build Community
Community gardens grow healthy food, along with healthy connections and vibrant communities. Caroline Urben with Asbury Methodist Church Community Garden in Raleigh will share how to start community gardens and what key components need to be considered. Hear from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Katie Murray about how to build community as your garden grows. Katie’s leadership at the Camden Street Learning Garden in downtown Raleigh is transforming this food desert and connecting community members around food in the process.
- URBAN AG TRACK: Local Models for Growing
Expand your thinking about what is possible and learn about several local urban farming models from our panel of local farmers. Glen Lang with LL Urban Farms will discuss how hydroponics provide year-round growing opportunities for his business. Tami Purdue of Sweet Peas Urban Gardens is growing microgreens in a CropBox in Raleigh; learn about the urban bioponic produce business world. Daniel Dayton with Old Milburnie Farm will discuss small-scale, diversified vegetable production for direct market. Hear about crop production, marketing, and integration of secondary enterprises to diversify revenue streams. Moderator Erin White with Community Food Lab will facilitate Q&A.
Visit Educational Booths
11:00 am-12:00 pm
Concurrent Workshops (choose 1 to attend from the track of your choice)
- SCHOOLS TRACK: Creative School Garden Tastings—Nutrition Education
When students grow vegetables, they are much more invested in eating them! So what to do once the veggies are harvested? Learn how to incorporate a rolling culinary cart and tie in garden nutrition to prepare fun and healthy tastings in your classroom. Learn how to connect with the American Culinary Federation’s Chefs Move to Schools and savor the tastes of the garden. Edna Chirico of REAL School Gardens, Carolinas Region and teacher Suzanne Beckman , Berryhill School, will lead this workshop and provide smoothies samples for all! (K-8)
- CHILD CARE TRACK: STEM, Outdoor Learning and the Child Care Garden
Edible gardens bring learning to life! Hear from James Bullock of Childcare Network #125, Fuquay-Varina, about how he and others at his center ignite imaginations and spark learning connections through a variety of STEM activities that involve outdoor learning and the edible child care garden. Hear about the evidence of learning and understand the curriculum connection opportunities that gardens provide, along with so much tasty and healthy food. This session will be full of movement and activity!
- COMMUNITY GARDENS TRACK: Maximizing Space & Considering Different Growing Methods
You would be amazed at how much food you can grow in a small space or with different methods. Consider raised beds, square foot gardening, trellises and other vertical options, straw bales, permaculture, and intercropping for your garden. Amanda Matson with Piedmont Picnic Project will share how you can incorporate these concepts to maximize your edible garden production.
- URBAN AG TRACK: Innovations in Urban Ag
As Wake County’s population continues to grow, the urban ag scene is also evolving and opening more opportunities for farming and local food businesses. Hear what’s happening locally, including about the new Good Hope Farm (formerly referred to as A.M. Howard Farm) in Cary. Sarah Justice, Town of Cary, and Erin Crouse, NC Community Development Initiative, will talk about this collaborative effort that enables six farmers to dig in this spring by licensing parcels of the land at Good Hope Farm.
Understanding food waste and how we can capitalize on food waste is increasingly important. Justin Senkbeil of Compost Now will share a high level view of food waste and innovative ways we can convert food waste, as well as local examples of community level composting.
Carol Mitchell with Wake County Cooperative Extension will provide a brief update on changes to the Wake County UDO and what they mean, as well as moderate Q&A.
Keynote Address and Lunch
Uniting Neighborhoods: Growing Food and Community, Creating Art and Culture
Soyini Guyton, Co-founder and Board of Directors Chair, Frogtown Farm, St. Paul, MN
Frogtown Farm is a 5-acre urban farm and food justice nonprofit in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Frogtown neighborhood has the highest youth population in the city, yet had the least green space. Guyton, a master gardener, artist and poet, and 30-year Frogtown resident, worked with others to develop Frogtown Farm, a 5-acre urban farm and food justice nonprofit that now serves as a vibrant community gathering place, an active recreation area, a nature preserve and an urban demonstration farm.
Frogtown Farm and Park is recognized as a destination for those seeking learning, innovation, reflection, celebration, and authentic community. Rooted in values of social equity, justice, and inter-connectedness, this urban farm serves as a model for multi-cultural communityies and a catalyst for economic development, wealth creation, community pride, and sustainability.
Hear Guyton talk about the founders’ intentional focus to incorporate food, art and culture into their neighborhood, the positive impact it is having on Frogtown and its residents, and about creating and sustaining vibrant, dynamic and beautiful community-based projects.
Networking & Visit Educational Booths
DIG, LEARN, MAKE and PLAY!
EDUCATIONAL BOOTHS & SUN SPROUTS GARDEN FUN
Continue the learning by visiting educational booths with hands-on activities that you can replicate and plenty of resources to help you start or maintain your garden. Plus, join Team Marbles in Sun Sprouts to search for signs of spring and help wake up the garden for planting. You will see a variety of ideas to engage and teach young children.
Ask the Master Gardener
Wake County Extension Master Gardeners are a tremendous resource to community, school and child care gardeners with a wealth of information to share. Visit their booths for best practice know-how and hands-on learning.
- Soil Testing and Soil Amendments
- Top 10 Diseases & 10 Insects: What to Do
- What to Grow When in North Carolina
Faced with a Healthy Snack
Join Wake County Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom in making a fun (and friendly!) snack while learning about healthy food choices. Learn more about the curriculum, grants and other resources (K-7) for teachers from NC Ag in the Classroom and see this example of a lesson relating to healthy foods.
Bees are star pollinators, but butterflies do their share to help fruits and vegetables grows, and they sure are fun to watch as they work! Visit with Annie Louise Wilkerson Nature Preserve staff with Raleigh’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department to learn about butterfly gardening, see plant and caterpillar specimens and lots of butterfly visuals.
Community Solutions for Urban Ag
Join Raleigh City Farm to learn about existing barriers for new farmers, and solutions, and opportunities for community members to get involved in urban agriculture. Make and take a sustainable seed starter pot!
Composting: Farm to Table to Farm
Visit with CompostNow to learn more about the composting cycle (farm-to-table-to-farm) and its benefits. Plus, learn more about CompostNow's services and how they can help you compost while supporting local community gardens and urban farms.
Conservation at Urban Farms & Gardens
The Wake Soil and Water Conservation District assists farmers, operators, landowners and citizens. Urban ag specialists will share resources and information on technical assistance they provide. Learn about different soil and water conservation principles with a storyboard and coloring activities.
Creating a Multi-use Teepee
Join the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) to learn the many ways and materials you can use to create a teepee. They are an affordable setting for a variety of activities such as story time and dramatic play and provide a great structure for growing vegetable and flowering vines. You are only limited by your imagination!
Farm to Child Care
Like Farm to School, Farm to Child Care is growing right here in Wake County. Child care directors and teachers will learn the basics on how and where to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables for meals and snacks to enhance quality care, and see how harvests from their own edible gardens can be incorporated. Plant herbs with Wake County SmartStart that you can take back to your center or family child care home!
Garden Harvest Sculpture
Learn about what fruits and veggies grow in North Carolina, plus make veggie sculptures. Visit with The Produce Box to learn and play!
Healthy Foods and Farming
Spin and win! Think you know about healthy living, foods and farming? Come spin the wheel, answer a question and win a prize from Purple Martin Community Farm—the epicenter of 5401 North, a new community in Raleigh.
It’s a Worm’s World/Plant a Row for the Hungry
Join the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s Urban Agriculture team and our wiggly worms as we learn how worms turn food waste into nutrient dense compost for your backyard, school or community garden! Learn about planting an extra row (or pot!) and donating the harvest to local people in need of healthy produce.
Gardeners of Wake County will host a Seed Swap with a variety of seeds for your garden this year! Local gardeners have saved and donated their seeds for Dig In Freebies, and participants may also bring
seeds to swap if they wish; bring labeled and sealed bags. You don’t need to bring seeds, but do bring a need for seeds! Stop by and learn how to save seeds to help keep costs down, maintain variety including some heirlooms.
Starting Seeds Indoors
Growing from seed is the most economical way to garden, and it’s a science lesson in itself! Visit with Fairview Garden Center to learn what supplies are needed to start seeds indoors, how to sow your seeds and how long before you can transplant to the garden.
Straw Bale Gardening
Short on well-drained soil or want to experiment with different ways to grow vegetables? Join the Future Farmers of America Club from Wakefield High School to learn the ins and outs of straw bale gardening.
Top 10 Pollinators
Without pollinators, our gardens simply will not grow. Learn about the top 10 pollinators in North Carolina–from buzzing bees to darting hummingbirds and other pollinators North Carolina –and how to attract these important workers to your garden. Join Grow and Share for a coloring activity that shows how pollen is taken from one flower to another.
Join Piedmont Picnic Project to see, touch and taste common wild edibles you may see along area greenways and trails, or even your own backyard. There are lots of common wild edibles sprouting this spring—check out this see, touch and taste display!
Each person attending Dig In! must register. A limited number of scholarships is available to community members who are unable to pay for the registration. Please email email@example.com regarding a scholarship if needed.
Many thanks to our generous sponsors! Their support is vital to the success of Dig In!
The Whole Farm: $5,000+
Marbles Kids Museum
Thanks to Marbles for providing a wonderful meeting site and partnering to present the Dig In Courtyard with fun and educational booths and hands-on garden play!
Wake County Human Services
Sponsorships are available at a variety of levels. Contact AHA at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to sponsor Dig In!