09/09/07 — Festival set for this Saturday at Cherry Farm

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Festival set for this Saturday at Cherry Farm

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 9, 2007 2:12 AM

Those who want to know a little more about farming will have their chance this weekend at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems' Fall Festival.

The event, which is set for Saturday, will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the CEFS Small Farm on N.C. 581 west between Cherry Hospital and O'Berry Center.

Featured will be speakers and exhibits on the latest in organic farming and gardening, along with food and entertainment.

At 11 a.m., Sarah Ash, a nutrition professor at N.C. State University, will speak on eating healthy from the garden, followed by an 11:30 a.m. demonstartion on how make biofuel from vegetable oil.

At noon, Wayne County's horticulture agent, Jessica Hyatt, will discuss rain gardens, with Amy Griner of the N.C. Crop Improvement Assoc. speaking at 12:30 p.m. on organic certification.

At 1 p.m., N.C. State research technician Ken Fager will discuss back yard organic gardening, followed by a 1:30 p.m. presentation by graduate students Cary Rivard and Suzanne O'Connell on grafting tomatoes for disease resistance.

And for those who are interested in a different kind of crop, Dr. Steve Washburn and Dr. Jean-Marie Luginbuhl of N.C. State's Animal Science Department will speak at 2 p.m. on raising farm animals.

Steve Moore, who works at the center, said the festival focuses on the need for education -- the first step to improving the American food producing system.

"Right now our food system is such that, for every one calorie of food we eat, it's taking 10 calories of fossil fuel to get it to our plate," he said. "We've got a lot of thinking to do. We're not in a good place with food."

In addition to the educational exhibits, there will be trolley rides through the farm and a crop maze for adults and children. Live entertainment also will be provided with bluegrass and gospel music. Vintage farm equipment will be displayed, as well as cutting-edge machinery used at the research farm for sustainable practices.

Plenty of food will be on hand ready to eat as well as fresh produce from local markets.

"So do your grocery shopping here Saturday," Moore said.

Saturday's event isn't just for farmers, Moore emphasized. It's for anyone interested in what they eat and how it gets to their table.

"This event is just for families, people who don't know a hoot about agriculture, to come and just have fun while exploring ideas of how to come up with a sustainable food system," he said.

And visitors just might find out there are a few things to be proud of other than barbecue here, Moore added.

"We in the east take pride in our barbecue, and there are foods we grow in the east. I wonder how many people around here really eat sweet potatoes, and that's a major crop here. They're way more nutritious than bananas, especially when it comes to potassium."

For information about the festival, call 919-513-0954 or 731-3440.