Vernon workshop series promotes sustainable agriculture

Vernon workshop series promotes sustainable agriculture

The series concludes this week with a Saving Seeds workshop Wednesday and a Wild Edibles workshop Saturday at the public library.

For anyone who feels they don’t have time to grocery shop or hit the pharmacy, these local free workshops may be for you.

The Food Action Society of the North Okanagan hopes to teach modern people how to live sustainability through common plants in a series of workshops and seminars. This week, two workshops are being offered at the Vernon public library.

The fourth workshop in the series takes place Wednesday night at 7 p.m. with a focus on saving seeds. Then Saturday, the Food Action Society hosts the Wild Edibles in the Garden workshop starting at 2 p.m. Both events are free and are co-sponsored by the City of Vernon Sustainability Series.

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“The workshops for this series are based around a really interesting topic that a lot of people seem to have a lot of interest in. Lots of people want to know more about plants and a lot of these are common plants that you see everywhere — growing out of the cracks of sidewalks or growing in your yard are edible or medicinal,” said Jennifer Elward of the Food Action Society.

The purpose of these workshops is to teach locals how to make use of them effectively.

Saturday’s Wild Edible workshop will be presented by Mikaela Cannon, a local plant expert. Cannon is an avid plant lover who runs a small farm with her husband and two children in Armstrong. She often wild crafts and gardens to feed her family but also spends time teaching others different ways to use plants from the wild through her business Herbal Myth.

She is currently working towards a degree in Ethnobotany as well as helping out in the Indigenous garden at the Okanagan College in Vernon. She also has completed a two-year long wilderness guide course in Sweden, herbal medicine courses on Vancouver Island, and has worked as a research assistant and park ranger in Australia.

“Saturday is taught a local expert [Cannon] who really loves plants and studies them and that’s really her livelihood and so I think it’s going to be a really exciting workshop with her on Saturday,” said Elward.

Though she notes that Wednesday will be a very informative workshop as well, admitting even she has fallen into the routine of buying flower and plant seeds at the grocery store each spring. But, she said, with this knowledge, she won’t have to keep spending the money every year. Rather, she can simply save the seeds herself for re-plantation next year.

Wednesday, she said, will teach people how to do the same.

“It’s a human tradition as long as humans have been gardening and farming for over 10,000 years we have saved the seeds ourselves and so we’re reintroducing this human knowledge that was sort of lost in the last two or three generations in North America,” said Elward. “We want to bring this knowledge back.”

The sustainability series is a five-part program. These workshops conclude the series but, if people are unable to attend, many events are often held through the North Okanagan’s food action society. The schedule can be found online.

“This is human culture; it’s our heritage. We’re alive because we knew plants and how to use them. That’s how Indigenous people thrived on this land and that knowledge has almost been lost,” said Elward. “It’s important to come back to these workshops to learn how to make use of what the land offers us.”

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Vernon workshop series promotes sustainable agriculture

Vernon workshop series promotes sustainable agriculture