Want to take charge of your own home-grown food? GCC’s new credit-free “Foodies of Franklin County” workshop series was created for you. On five Tuesday evenings this fall, you can learn about a wide range of local food topics: from chickens to cheese, preserving food to food safety, and growing food all year long. These practical workshops are geared for those already growing food as well as those just starting out.
Sandy Thomas, former Interim Associate Dean of Community Education, said “GCC strives to see what education our community needs and then provide it. We developed the ‘Foodies of Franklin County’ workshops because of the huge interest in locally grown food and growing food. We are delighted that Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) agreed to become our Series Partner, given their pivotal role in supporting local agriculture throughout the Pioneer Valley.”
“Foodies of Franklin County” includes:
• The Chicken or the Egg: Raising Backyard Chickens, October 12: Chickens (the hot new pet) provide fresh eggs, garden manure, pest control, and hours of free entertainment! Learn how to start a backyard flock, including: foods, shelter, health, egg production, breeds, regulations, and helpful resources. Instructors: Meg Taylor, Pioneer Valley Backyard Chicken Association, and Andrew Beals, Poulin Grains (sponsored by Greenfield Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange).
• Preserving Food, October 19: CISA’s Margaret Christie will help you start – or expand – your home food preservation efforts. She’ll cover freezing, drying, canning, and storage, and will talk about both small-scale and ambitious home food preservation.
• Extending the Season: Hoop Houses, Cold Frames & More, October 26: Daniel Botkin of Laughing Dog Farm in Gill will describe use of hoop houses, cold frames, year-round planting cycles, and cold hardy crops for home gardeners and farmers to extend the growing season. Daniel will show slides of his permaculture-influenced gardens and farm and demonstrate low-cost materials for building “low tunnels” (crawl-in hoop houses). He will also discuss heirloom seeds and seed saving.
• When E. coli Hits the Fan: Food Safety Basics for Farm Stands and Farmers Markets, November 2: Jeff Brandenburg, Greenfield resident and international expert on food safety, will explore what happened in food safety recalls, including the 2006 E. coli spinach outbreak in California and recent egg recalls, and offer guidance on how to minimize the risk of an outbreak in local farm stands and Farmers Markets. Is locally-grown produce inherently safer, or not? Geared for farmers, home gardeners, and everyone who enjoys eating locally grown food.
• Apples and Cheese, November 9: More than McIntosh! Third generation fruit grower Tom Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield will lead a sampling and discussion of Clarkdale’s heritage apples. The “Cheese Queen” Ricki Carroll, from Ashfield, will make Mozzarella, and Ricotta if there is time, and we will taste freshly made cheese.
Come for one workshop or the whole series. Each “Foodies of Franklin County” workshop costs just $19 and all will be held Tuesday evenings, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the GCC Downtown Center, 270 Main St., Greenfield. To register, visit gcc.mass.edu/shopcreditfree or call (413) 775-1803.
Mary McClintock, ’82