The local food movement continues to grow in popularity as people become more health conscious and attuned to where their food is originating.
If you have a desire to grow your own food or lessen your environmental impact by purchasing locally grown produce, eggs and meat, the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is hosting its third annual Grow Your Own — The Real Local Food Festival from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, March 30.
The festival will include four speaker sessions conducted by local farmers and community gardeners. Pilar Quintero from Rancho Alegre, a Dacula-based farm, will share the story of her agricultural enterprise, which includes a small dairy operation, chickens, hogs and sheep. Anne-Marie Bilella with Bella Vista Farm will take visitors outside on a wild edible and medicinal plant hike around the GEHC forest and will share information on how to grow these useful plants at home. Ned Jung of J&J Culinary Sensations will conduct a local food cooking demonstration complete with samples of his delicious fare and will share how he supports local and organic farmers in his catering business. The Gwinnett County Extension will also provide tips on how to prepare your garden for the growing season.
The festival includes activities for the “wee” gardeners. Live chickens, including baby chicks and a variety of adult breeds, will be on campus for visitors to see. Chicken and bee crafts, seed planting, face painting and worm composting discoveries will excite children to dig in the dirt as temperatures get warmer. The GEHC will also offer special Junior Master Gardener Wildlife Gardening classes from 2-3 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. for ages 5 to 12. Preregistration for the Wildlife Gardening classes is required and can be done online at www.gwinnettEHC.org.
Program fees are $5 for ages 13 and older, $3 for ages 3 to 12 and free for children 2 and younger and GEHC members.
For more information and the schedule of speaker sessions and events, visit www.gwinnettEHC.org.