Learn city-living sustainability

By Olivia Clements - Staff Reporter

A mother goat and her baby are going to overshadow the show at the South King County Urban Agriculture Food Summit at Highline. 

The Urban Agriculture Food Summit is a free two-day event that will feature workshops, demonstrations, vendors, and activities for children on March 17, 2-5 p.m., and March 18, 10 a.m. -3 p.m.  in Building 8.

"First day we are going to have mostly workshops and the second day is going to be workshops mixed with venders," said Bobby Butler, manager of the Urban Agriculture Program. 

Attendees will learn about permaculture/sustainability techniques, soil science, bee keeping for increased pollination, edible landscaping and more.

There will be a workshop on hugelkultur which is a form of permaculture. Butler said hugelkultur is making compost mounds that you plant into. They hold moisture, build fertility, and maximize surface volume for growing fruit. 

"It's a good opportunity to find out about how to grow things in this local community. Especially something like tree fruit. It's something that's low maintenance and can provide food for your family for a long time," said Butler. 

Several organizations will be joining the Food Summit. 

The Ravenna Ridge Metro Milkers will bring goats to demonstrate urban goat keeping. The Seattle Tree Fruit Society will present its 12th annual grafting show, with many fruit growing related workshops. 

Grafting is combining two different varieties of fruit trees or other crops into one variety.

"It is important because almost every apple tree and several other crops are almost never grown from seeds. They are almost always grafted or they might start as a seed and are grafted with something else," said Butler.

The Food Summit is an opportunity to learn about growing food and farming in the city, Butler said.

"Most people in this area I don't think have ever set foot on a farm, so this is kind of like bringing the farm to the school so they can see what it's like," said Butler.

The Urban Agriculture Program offers a certificate, which is 46 credits made up of about 16 different courses. 

The Urban Agriculture Program has outreach events and activities frequently. They participate in activities with local elementary, junior high, and high schools. 

Butler suggests everyone should go to the Food Summit event.

"It's a good family event and even people who have some experience with agriculture can still learn something and anybody who is interested in starting their own farm or interested in making a better garden at their house. Open to anyone interested in food or agriculture," said Butler.

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