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Into the Garden: Seed swap set for sustainability fair

By Sara Busse
Jerry Waters
Forren Soil will hold a festival at its retail garden center, located at the site of the former A&W Root Beer Drive In. Free root beer will be served at the festival.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Third Annual Kanawha Valley Sustainability Fair will have a new feature for gardeners, thanks to Aimee Figgatt. She's organizing a seed swap at the free event, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24 at Columbia Gas Transmission Building, 1700 MacCorkle Ave. SE.The theme is "Celebrate YOUR HOME on Planet Earth," and it will feature family-friendly activities and entertainment, all related to sustainable local agriculture, ecology, businesses, transportation, energy, health, arts, family and community resources.Organized by Kanawha Valley Connections, last year's fair drew more than 2,800 visitors and included more than 100 on-site and affiliated exhibitors."In previous years, we were at Habitat ReStore, but quickly outgrew it," Figgatt said. She's hoping many gardeners will participate in the seed swap.Figgatt, owner of Tyler Creek Farms, on Little Tyler Mountain, outside Charleston, raises free-range hens and sells farm-fresh eggs. She also raises and sells herbs and produce. She got the idea for the seed swap at a conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture."I attended the PASA conference this year and they had a wonderful seed swap -- so much fun. I hope to keep it up and make it tradition!" Figgatt said.She suggests bringing seeds to swap in paper envelopes."The smaller the better -- letter size -- but I see no reason to be picky. A picture of the plant could be a plus, if they feel inclined. They can write on the outside. "We will also have envelopes available if they want to bring seed loose; we'll bring a stack of paper bags for them to put seed in and label the outside. Measuring spoons for scoops. We are providing pens."They can certainly bring seed to share, even if they don't need any themselves. And I really would love to see folks take seed even if they didn't bring it. Might just encourage new gardeners," she said.The fair still needs volunteers to help set up and keep things working smoothly. Call the Kanawha Valley Connections office at 304-941-3281 if you would like to help the day before or the day of the fair. Visit to download the volunteer information form, or send your contact information to workshopMore on the sustainability front: "Sustainability 101 Workshop" will take place from 1 to 3 and from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Charleston Area Alliance office, 1116 Smith St. The free event is presented by Bridgemont Community and Technical College, West Virginia Sustainable Communities (a West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection initiative).
The workshop will help participants achieve the goals of using resources more efficiently, reducing waste stream, improving personal health and adding more value to the community. Professional trainers from Bridgemont will administer the interactive session.Call 304-734-6709 to register.
Fall garden celebrationForren Soil is holding a Fall Garden Celebration Sept. 17 at 601 Central Ave. Owner Tim Forren is paying homage to the garden center's location on Charleston's West Side by giving out free A&W Root Beer throughout the day. The site is the former home of the popular drive-in restaurant.Gardening lectures include:10 a.m.: Organic and green garden products11:15 a.m.: Tips for maintaining the fall garden, including question and answer session.1 p.m.: Plants to add fall and winter interest to the garden.
There will be a farmer's market on-site, and grilled corn and hot dogs will be available. There will be plant specials as well as a new shipment of garden art.Call 304-345-1007 to save a seat for the lectures. All events are open to the public.Fall container workshopWest Virginia State University Extension Service is hosting a Fall Container Gardening Workshop 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 20 at the Douglas Land-Grant Administration Building, 4015 Fairlawn Ave., Institute. Types of plants suitable for using in a container garden during the autumn months will be used. The $20 fee includes materials. Register by Friday. Contact 304-204-4305 or Sara Busse at or 304-348-1249.
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