Learn the basics of seed-starting with Tony Leger

  • The Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op on North Main Street in Orange is hosting a series of “farmer demo” workshops through May, including a seed-starting workshop with Tony Leger on April 2. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

For the Recorder
Published: 3/22/2019 1:36:24 PM

As part of an ongoing “farmer demo” series, Quabbin Harvest Food Co-op will host a seed-starting workshop with Tony Leger of Foothill Farm on Tuesday, April 2, from 3 to 5 p.m.

The seed-starting workshop is one of six hosted by Quabbin Harvest at 12 North Main St. in downtown Orange on the first Tuesday of each month through May, according to a Quabbin Harvest press release. The workshops are free to attend and each participant will receive a reusable tote bag in addition to the food item, craft or plant created during each workshop.

“These farmer demos are a perfect opportunity for the community to connect with and learn from their local farmers, while learning more about local food options in the North Quabbin,” said Kat Kowalski, an AmeriCorps member with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, one of several organizations that support the demos.

The demonstrations are organized by Quabbin Harvest, the Orange and Athol farmers markets, and the Greater Quabbin Food Alliance, with support from Mount Grace and the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund.

Years ago, when he first started selling seed starts, perennials and vegetables from Foothill Farm in Orange, Leger noticed that the local farmers markets were not as vibrant as they could be. By working with the Greater Quabbin Food Alliance and Quabbin Harvest, Leger wants to help break down the financial, social and educational barriers to accessing healthy local food.

“We kind of all banded together and said, ‘We can do something better,’” Leger said. “Certainly I think there’s a real desire by the folks to provide access to this food that’s grown locally.”

Each participant in April’s workshop will leave with a small set of seeds they started to eventually transplant and grow at home. The workshop will go over seed starting, transplanting and propagating perennials.

“We’re going to talk about dirt. We’re going to talk about when you should start your seeds, what kind of soil to use, what you should do when you’re up-potting your seeds,” Leger said. “You’ll start some seeds, you’ll take them home and you’ll grow them yourself.”

The goal of the workshop series is to help support farmers year-round after the growing season has ended, while providing fun, family-oriented educational opportunities that help people connect with the farmers producing their food. All necessary tools and materials will be provided.

The next workshop, “Local Smoothie Making” with Rachel Gonzalez of Rachel’s Everlastings, will be held on Tuesday, May 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. Learn to make delicious and nutritious smoothies for the coming summer months with local ingredients.

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