Buckerfield’s Urban Agriculture Series at the Salmon Arm Fair will offer all kinds of information including how to help residents grow food in small and large spaces, just as this community garden at the Salvation Army Food Bank is doing. (Shuswap Food Action photo)

Buckerfield’s Urban Agriculture Series at the Salmon Arm Fair will offer all kinds of information including how to help residents grow food in small and large spaces, just as this community garden at the Salvation Army Food Bank is doing. (Shuswap Food Action photo)

‘Get Growing’: Salmon Arm Fair to help more residents grow food

Workshops vary from how to start indoor container gardening to meal planning

Climate instability, supply chain delays and transportation costs are just three of the reasons local food sustainability is increasingly crucial.

Making its debut appearance at the Salmon Arm Fair is Buckerfield’s Urban Agriculture Series, in collaboration with Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agricultural Society and Shuswap Food Action Society.

“The Shuswap has so many knowledgeable people about food and we want to share that knowledge with community members who might be interested in growing their own foods,” said Serena Caner, executive director of the Shuswap Food Action Society. “We recognize not everybody has access to gardens, but we believe food can be grown in window sills, boxes, containers and community gardens.”

Caner said the urban agriculture series will help make growing food more accessible to more people.

“We want people to think more about growing, preserving their own food, supporting local growers and cooking their own food,” she said, pointing out that food costs are on the rise.

This year’s theme, ‘Get Growing,’ will be expressed in presentations intended to educate and inspire the community to become food secure.

A variety of speakers will share their knowledge, experience and passion for growing and raising their own food on all three days of the fair, which runs from Friday, Sept. 9, to Sunday, Sept. 11.

“The idea is to talk about what it is, why it is important and who is most affected by food insecurity,” said fair manager Jim McEwan, noting topics will cover several interesting subjects. “Given the state of food insecurity due to floods last fall, everything was running a little lean.”

The series will begin in the Artisans’ Building at 10 a.m., Friday, with a panel discussion on the importance of food security to the community and how to keep it that way.

This will be followed by several presentations:

What’s Up With the Price of Food – a better understanding of the increases shoppers are seeing and what to expect runs at 11 a.m.

Soil Health – how improving soil can improve health; begins at noon and is followed by Young Agrarians – growing the next generation of farmers and food lovers at 1.

Getting Growing – how to get started with container/indoor gardening and some of the basics, including aeroponics, hydroponics, grow lights and crops for small places rolls out at 2 p.m.

The afternoon sessions continue at 3 p.m. with Food in the Shuswap: Past Present and Future, which addresses food security and food sovereignty in the Shuswap. Friday presentations conclude with Out Standing in Their Field – the role animals and soil play in climate solutions.

Saturday’s workshops begin at 11 a.m. following the Fall Fair Parade.

First up, it’s Getting Growing! on how to get a home garden started – converting green spaces into food production as affordably as possible.

Preserving the Harvest for Nutrition and Food Security takes place at noon with a focus on canning, preserving, fermenting, dehydrating, freezing and how to have quality foods in your pantry.

At 1 p.m., it’s Kids in the Kitchen with tips and tricks to encourage kids to get into the kitchen, learn skills and make cooking fun.

Meal Planning for Busy Families takes place at 2 p.m. and focuses on how planning ahead saves time and money.

Saturday sessions end with Fall IS Time for Planting where patrons can learn how to make the most of fall and participate in a question-and-answer session at 3 p.m.

Sunday’s slate begins at 10 a.m. with 4H: Engaging youth in leadership and stewardship. This is followed at 11 a.m. by Preserving 101: Fermentation and its Health Benefits and includes a live demonstration.

Seed Saving 101 takes place at noon and deals with increasing self-sufficiency in the garden by saving your own seed for planting next season.

At 1 p.m., it’s Backyard Chickens 101 or how to get started producing your own eggs and meat.

Homesteading is First a State of Mind takes place at 2 p.m. and will examine what homesteading is and how it can be done on any small or large area.

The last presentation of the day is Vertical Gardening by the winner of the 2022 Launch-a-Preneur. He will demonstrate how to maximize production in small spaces.

McEwan said Buckerfield’s will be filming the series and uploading it to YouTube.

“I’m really keen to see the response from the community and I’m very excited that there will likely be some exciting new food technologies, one being vertical gardening,” McEwan said, calling himself a semi green thumb interested in learning about growing vegetables. “The idea is to bring the series into the future. Each year we could be speaking on different subjects about how we can become food secure.”