As obesity threatens to become a public health crisis, the need to stress the importance of proper nutrition has never been greater. Starting Feb.11, Claflin University will do its part to address this crisis in the Orangeburg community by hosting a three-session Organic Gardening Workshop, in the Orangeburg and surrounding communities
Individuals registering for the workshop will learn a variety of techniques to affordably grow in their own backyards all natural fruits and vegetables without the use of chemicals. Upon completion of the three workshop series, the participants will receive Completers Certificate, and will also instruction from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel on how to apply for Organic Grower license for production and distribution of organic produce within the state.
Florence Anoruo, Assistant Professor of Biology, anticipates the workshop will improve the health of the community by increasing the number of organic produce available to citizens. And she said the workshop also has a benefit to the local environment by reducing the amount of chemicals used to cultivate fruits and vegetables. In addition, Anoruo believes the workshop will spur rural economic development by certifying more organic farmers in the area.
Claflin is the only Historically Black College or University in the South to host such a workshop this year.
“Everything revolves around sustainability from creating a garden with little disturbance of the soil, maximizing crop produce and using as few natural resources as possible,” Anoruo said. “Teaching this group how to grow healthy, organic produce will translate into them relaying that knowledge to others. This will allow the community to live healthier lifestyles.”
As part of the workshop, which is made possible through a USDA grant, local farmers will sell their naturally grown produce at Legacy Plaza on the Claflin campus during days when sessions are held. Anoruo said this will be a great opportunity for local residents to purchase organic produce at an affordable price.
During the workshop, participants will learn how to make homemade compost, create an irrigation system, sustainable planters ( for container gardening), raised garden beds, mini-greenhouses, prepare soil, and plant environmentally friendly organic crops, among other things. Door prizes and free seeds also will be given to workshop participants.
Seating for the workshop is available on a first-come, first served basis. Individuals interested in participating in the workshops must register by contacting either Anoruo by phone at (803) 535-5249 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Marius Groza (803)535-5522 or email@example.com.
Vendors will be on campus to sell their fresh, organic produce during the days of the workshops from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Each workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Room 131 (Iowa room) in the James S. Thomas Science Center.
The following is the workshop schedule:
Workshop #1 February 11, 2012 - Introduction to organic farming; Homemade watering
system and Composting, Homemade eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides.
Workshop #2 March 3 - Outdoor hands-on activities; Fruits and vegetables that thrive in South Carolina; and tools, raised bed and soil preparation.
Workshop #3 March 24 - Good bugs, bad bugs; Keeping your garden healthy; and Harvesting
- Certification/license info-session for organic gardening in South Carolina.