Dig In! Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas This Weekend.

herb culver

Herb Culver’s class on seed-saving will return to the Dig In Festival this year!

It’s the time of year for seed swaps, garden plans, and discussions of small-scale agriculture If it seems like our site has become a bit-food centric these days it’s just because we believe that building local food systems is, at the very least, a potential step in the right direction towards more just and democratic communities for everyone.

This weekend readers in the Ozarks will want to be sure and check out the Dig In! Food and Farming Festival in Fayetteville. Dig In! is a grassroots community event, say organizers, “to encourage, inspire, involve and educate people about local food systems.” Last year the event attracted well over 600 participants. There’s a wealth of information about local food, farms and gardens with films, classes, an information and vendor fair, seed-swap, local tastings and more. All events are held t the University of Arkansas Global Campus, 2 East Center Street, and take place from Thursday February 28 until Saturday March 2, 2013.

Dig In! will open to the public this Thursday afternoon with events for parents and children and the showing of documentary films that evening. “Farmer Friday” will offer morning sessions for farmers and gardeners and an afternoon workshop with Brad Lancaster, featured speaker (see below).  Films will continue through Friday and Saturday’s event will be filled classes, roundtable discussions, seed swaps, food tastings and an information and vendor fair. Classes include topics such as “No Till Farming,” “Small-scale Financing,” “Canning and Preserving,” “Backyard Chickens,” and “Cooking In Season.”

The keynote speaker for this year will touch on what many Arkansans faced last year, extreme drought. The speaker will be Brad Lancaster of Tucson, Arizona , author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volumes 1 and 2. He’s turned his arid Tucson, Arizona home into what organizers call, “an edible urban oasis in the desert.” He harvests 100,000 gallons of rainwater and then directs this resource to nurture into food-bearing shade trees, gardens, and a landscape that supports habitat for wildlife. “Lancaster’s model,” say organizers, “not only increases local food availability and creates beautiful and functional landscapes—it eases pressure on city storm-runoff systems as well as prevents pollution of nearby streams and rivers.”  Leigh Wilkerson, founder and class coordinator for the Dig In! festival notes that Lancaster “teaches that far beyond the capacity of rain barrels and tanks, the ultimate cache for rainwater is the soil and plants. We can create landscapes that harvest their own water.”

For a complete list of all the classes, films, and events click here. And be sure and follow them on Facebook to keep up to date with new additions to the schedule. Will you be attending? We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Dig In! is a not-for-profit community endeavor funded by your donations.   Classes & films are offered by donation, with $5 suggested per session attended. Information fair and seed swap are free. Daily and Weekend passes for supporters will be available on the website and at the door. Farmer Friday is a separate ticketed event. For more information contact event producers: Cheri LaRue, Charity Lewis and Leigh Wilkerson Media contact: Leigh Wilkerson   479-856-2088