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Gardening expo to feature workshops, vendors, concessions

Apr 4, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Gardeners, grill meisters and everyone who likes good, local food will find something of interest at this year's Gardening and Backyard Living Expo.

The showcase of backyard living will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse at Lander Valley High School. The event is free.

"If you are the type of person who likes hanging out in your garden or backyard -- it'll help you enjoy those things better," Popo Agie Conservation District program assistant Diana Olson said.

The local conservation district, Fremont Local Foods, University of Wyoming Extension office and Central Wyoming College are sponsoring the event.

The event is in its second year and will feature 10 workshops, a farmers market, commercial vendors and food concessions. Last year, 770 people attended.

Classes cover vegetable gardening, growing trees, raising meat birds and marketing products at farmers markets.

Olson thinks the meat bird workshop will interest many people.

"A lot of people are getting really into it," she said. "They are willing to put in the time and effort but just don't know what to do."

A full schedule of workshops is available on the conservation district's website, www.popoagie.org.

The farmers market will include roughly a dozen booths selling all types of local food products such as beef, mushrooms, potatoes and salsa.

Customers can order other products for a future delivery date, such as custom meat, chicken, turkey, wine and mead.

Conservation technician Dave Morneau said the market is "just making local food available to folks that want it."

Roughly 30 commercial vendors, including nurseries, landscaping companies, community gardens, deck builders and grill sellers will display their products and services at the exposition.

Fremont County gardeners might be particularly interested in a company that makes "high tunnels." The devices are unheated greenhouses that extend the growing season.

Several vendors also will be selling food so attendees can stay at the expo for lunch.

"One of the greatest things is when someone goes away from it saying 'Gosh I didn't know that, now I know how to do it,'" Olson said.

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