Efforts underway to prepare Lansing farmers for future
by James Howell
New classes will be offered in the Lansing community that will teach locals how to grow organic food and about the benefits of eating a healthier diet.
Ann Rose, the project manager for Greater Lansing Area Development (GLAD), proposed this idea to help the community focus on eating locally-grown, healthy food. This initiative will also make it possible for low-income families to buy organic food.
“GLAD is currently promoting classes for the formation of a local collective of farmers who want to get into business for themselves,” said Rose.
According to Rose, Lansing is considered a “food-fragile” community, meaning the area doesn’t have the resources growers need to thrive in the community.
One proposed remedy for the food-fragile community is a food distribution center that would contain cold storage for locally-grown produce. This storage unit would allow farmers the opportunity to extend the shelf life of their produce.
“Many farmers can’t make it without cold storage,” said Rose.
According to Rose, she would like to have a cold storage unit of about 1,000 square feet in Lansing by April.
Both the classes and the storage unit will work with Ashe County’s Cooperative Extension service.
Rose said she is excited about the project as it moves forward.
“I think it would be a key factor in growing the Lansing area,” said Rose. She also said she would like to see the project work with the community kitchen that operates in Family Central.
This new initiative from GLAD will include three classes for local growers.
Growers interested in the available classes will be welcome to visit the Agriprenure Expo held at Lansing tech from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 19, to see if the class content and schedule fits their needs.
“The N.C. (agriculture) curriculum course content will be focused on developing your farm ideas, marketing, business operations, and financials through experiential learning. Students will walk away with knowledge, skills and a plan of action to start their own agricultural business,” said information released by Rose.
The first class offered will be an “AGriprenure” class instructed Lisa Redman. This class has a fee of $50 and is limited to 15 students. The class will meet from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Feb. 7, through March 28. Any questions should be emailed to email@example.com.
The second class will teach commercial growers how to earn an organic certification for from the USDA certification system. This class will be instructed by extension agent Richard Boylan and students will be charged a $50 class fee, which pays for books and handouts.
The organic certification class will meet from 5:30-8:30 p.m. every Wednesday from Jan. 30 - March 6. For more information, email Boylan at firstname.lastname@example.org
The final class offered will be a “gardening for home use” class. This course is geared towards small kitchen gardens and how to get the most out of small spaces. Some subjects will include raised beds, container gardens and home butchering.
The five gardening for home use classes will cost $30, and will meet on Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and 18, March 4 and 18, which is every other Monday evening. This class’s discussions will be guided by Rose, who is also a local farmer. Rose can be reached at email@example.com
All classes are in the Lansing Town hall building at the corner of D and B streets in the Lansing tech class room. There will be six available laptops for use by students and the room has a Wi-Fi connection if students would like to bring their own laptops.
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