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September 27, 2006

CEFS Fall Festival draws crowd

Small Farm tour
Bryan Green, center, gives children a look inside a moveable chicken house during a tour of the Small Farm Unit at CEFS. (Becky Kirkland photos)

About 750 people turned out Sept. 16 for the first-ever Fall Festival at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. The festival, an open house event for the public, was the culmination of "Seasons of Sustainable Agriculture," a celebration of 10 years of programming at CEFS.

The event was held at the CEFS Small Farm Unit, an organic farm where crops, poultry and goats are raised. Visitors could see a variety of crops and animals in the fields, including Sudan grass for grazing goats, pasture-raised poultry, a fall garden, cover crops, a no-till demonstration and a sorghum crop maze.

"We were extremely pleased with the turnout and response to this first-time event," said Nancy Creamer, CEFS director. "More than 700 were in attendance, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

"We had a lot of kid activities in addition to farmer and gardener workshops, a farmers market, music, local food and more. I expect this will likely become an annual event!"

The festival featured live music, including that of The Back Porch Boys, a three-member band of players with ties to CEFS. At the farmers' market, local vendors sold a range of products from produce to goat cheese to honey.

Throughout the day, visitors participated in tours of the Small Farm or of all the CEFS units, as well as workshops. Workshop topics included vermicomposting, tomato grafting, alpaca breeding, raising pastured poultry, eating local foods and more.

Kid in crop maze
A victorious youth exits the crop maze after finding his way through.

Children enjoyed a variety of activities, including getting lost -- and found -- in the crop maze, creating art with seeds and harvesting, shucking and milling corn. Face painting and other art activities were also offered.

Local food vendors served up barbecue sandwiches, ice cream and a variety of fried vegetables. Wayne County 4-H'ers made fresh orange-ades. A variety of exhibitors also offered information on CEFS and sustainable agriculture.

-N. Hampton

Posted by Natalie at September 27, 2006 01:49 PM