The GreenMarket (Alliance for the Arts, Colonial & McGregor, Sat. mornings) has been a forum and promoter of sustainable gardening practices and local growers and artisans for over three years. Vendors, friends and visitors celebrate the gardening lifestyle every summer with a series of free workshops and classes focused around growing edible landscapes in your yard.
This July, the focus will be on getting the younger members of the family initiated into the rythms, skills, and fun, of growing food - at the very least, the classes should make it clear that food isn't 'manufactured' and made available in styrofoam trays, but a living thing, that needs to be nurtured, needs some skills to be produced, and has a direct relationship with Nature. An optimal result would be the child taking an active interest in gardening, which provides numerous health and environmental benefits.
These Free Children's Gardening Workshops will be taught by professional, organic growers and gardeners. All kids are welcome; older ones can participate in the hands-on plantings and take notes. Younger children will have their own area to work on age-appropriate projects, like painting rainbarrels and raised beds used in the workshops. Parents and other adults are welcome to participate! All presentations start at 9:30 am. No registration is required, and all presentations take about two hours. Make sure children wear hats and comfortable clothes, have plenty of water, and sunblock.The next free gardening presentation at the GreenMarket, on Sat 7/14 at 9:30 (Alliance for the Arts, McGregor & Colonial Blvd, Ft Myers) will be an introduction to native plants, and butterfly gardens, by Kara Alfaro, owner of Elata Natives, a native plant nursery in Buckingham.
Kara is landscape designer and plant specialist. She earned a degree in landscape architecture from Iowa State University in 1997. Kara and husband Sergio started Elata Natives in 2000, and she loves the 'hands on' with the plants and helping clients create gardens that are both graceful and sustainable. Kara will be teaching visitors about the lower requirements in nutrition, and higher resistance to our climate of native and semi-native plants. Other benefits include attracting beneficial insects to the garden, pollinators such as butterflies and bees, that will benefit our food crops as well.
The hands-on work will be creating a native and butterfly garden, but other activities will be available for the younger children, such as raised bed and rainbarrel decorating.