Spring Planting Festival: growing healthy communities

The theme of this year’s festival, ‘Growing Healthy Communities.'

The theme of this year’s festival, ‘Growing Healthy Communities.'

The 2013 Spring Planting Festival presented by Gardens for Humanity from March 16-24 will be a week full of events and workshops that focus on the many aspects of “Growing Healthy Communities.”

According to Gardens for Humanity president, Richard Sidy, “The theme of this year’s festival, ‘Growing Healthy Communities,’ means personally, environmentally, economically, and spiritually. Community connections, mutual support and traditions play a big role in this.”

New for the 2013 Spring Planting Festival are a series of daily Coffee Talks throughout the Verde Valley. Join with neighbors in an informal setting and talk about Farmers Markets, the role of agriculture in the new Sedona Community Plan, about the joys and challenges of raising chickens, or learn about the development of a Verde Valley Food Hub.

Of special interest for VOC residents will be a Coffee Talk at Firecreek Coffee in the Village led by Harvey Grady, resident of Pine Valley. The topic for the talk on Wednesday, March 20 will be “Why Community Service and Nonprofit Organizations are Important to Growing Healthy Communities.” Harvey’s organization, Cornucopia Community Advocates, received the “Benefactor of the Year” award from the Yavapai County Community Foundation. Harvey is a long time member of Gardens for Humanity and a former board member, and current chairman of the Verde Food Council.

The Spring Planting Festival will begin with the Opening Expo at West Sedona School.

On the opening day Expo, enjoy a day of informative presentations, live music, local food and entertainment; meet organizations and vendors from our region, and attend the Keynote Address “Growing Healthy Soil” by Michael Meléndrez, internationally acclaimed soil researcher and founder of “Soil Secrets.”

Setting the stage for a “week of green” is the traditional Spring Planting Festival kickoff concert at the Old Town Center for the Arts on March 16. Ensuring that everyone will be in a “green” mood to celebrate both St. Patrick’s Day and the season of spring planting, the concert will feature Karl Jones and Dublin Soul adding a wee bit of playful rhythm for the week of activities.

During the festival one can learn to plant a vegetable garden, cook with native foods, find out about the mysteries of bee society, learn to harvest and plant rainwater, discover the names and uses of native plants, experience the taste of the southwest “terroir” in local wine, tour some area gardens, participate in a more food secure community, attend a public forum on the impact of GMO’s in our food and much, much more.

Closing a week of activities that highlight the unique agricultural, cultural and environmental contributions of our region are two events that have become a tradition in the Verde Valley: The AlterNATIVE Plant Expo on Saturday March 23 and the Backyard Garden Expo, Sunday March 24.

Gardens for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that serves to educate people on the importance of gardens, creativity, spirituality and nature.

It works to create and support such projects with schools, churches, communities or other organizations in Sedona and the Verde Valley. For a complete calendar of events and workshops, registration and maps to the week’s events visit www.gardensforhumanity.org or call 928-284-9055 for more information. The 2013 Spring Planting Festival is made possible with the support of the City of Sedona, sponsors, and community partners.

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