On Saturday, April 2, Washington State University Extension held its annual Small Acreage Expo at the 78th Street Heritage Farm in Vancouver. It was an excellent lineup of nutrition classes, introduction to livestock seminars, demonstrations, and informational discussions. The event was well attended by small producers and farmers as well as community members interested in learning some basic agricultural practices.
“Blackcap raspberries are the Pacific Northwest’s native bush berry.”
The day was broken up into four seminar blocks, each block hosting three or four educational options. The StreamTeam and Clark Public Utilities presented a class on native plants. They explained that native species, such as Oregon Grape, Red Currant, Lewis’ Mock Orange and evergreen huckleberries provide pest resistance while thriving in our local soils. An added benefit is that these plants attract native pollinators, such as bees, birds, and butterflies.
The class stressed the importance of planting and nurturing native species, while specifying in which ecosystems plants will thrive. For instance, the instructor suggested planting native camas in marshy areas. He also mentioned planting the right huckleberries at the correct elevation, something that emphasizes the biodiversity we experience here in the low lands of the Columbia River Basin all the way to the foothills of the Cascades.
Karen Pulyeart is a nutritionist who emphasizes healthy living through her website, Purely Primal. She taught a seminar about fermented foods and probiotics. She demonstrated how to make kombucha, a deliciously bubbly and adaptive fermented drink. She also showed how to make simple and tasty sauerkraut with a variety of ingredients and methods. Pulyeart stressed that probiotics are very healthy for our bodies, but as with everything in life, a little goes a long way so use in moderation.
Amy Blankenship, president of Clark County Goat Association, gave a seminar on rearing goats. She described the pros and cons of varieties and talked about some of the issues of goat ownership. From finding proper fencing, growing and offering the right food, to building proper structures, Blankenship gave a thorough and lively description of what goat rearing entails.
Lunch was provided by Simply Thyme Catering, and then the afternoon sessions began. There was an incredibly informative double session about poultry processing presented by the Clark Conservation District and Farmer Larry Gilberson of Gilberson’s Plush Poultry. Often viewed as the dirty work of farming, the class focused on slaughter, cleaning, and butchering of poultry. This video documents the process, as taken by Shawn Morrill.
The Small Acreage Expo is a yearly event, so make sure to keep your eyes open for next year’s expo. Or, check the FeedUs.Media calendar for updates as they become available.