By MOLLY TOWNSEND
The Union Democrat
Foothill Collaborative for Sustainability (FoCuS) will present its third annual Seed Share Event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Columbia Elementary library and cafeteria, at 22540 Parrotts Ferry Road, Columbia.
The event will focus primarily on seeds, including open-pollinated and heirloom seeds saved and collected by local growers, as well as a variety of vegetables, herbs, beans, fruit and grain seeds, potatoes and potted plants.
Local experts will speak on a variety of topics, such as raising chickens, pruning fruit trees, using worms for compost, beekeeping, water efficiency, permaculture and weather conditions that promote seed growth, according to Tamara Mitchell, executive director of the Foothill Collaborative.
There will also be a book and magazine exchange on gardening for those that wish to trade in their old reading material for something new, Mitchell said.
The cost of the event, in the form of a donation to FoCuS, will be $5 per individual, which includes six empty seed packets to fill, or $10 per family, along with 12 seed packets. Seed packets will also be available for purchase for $1 each.
“We get a lot of families with kids who come,” Mitchell said. “We’re not going to be real hard-nosed if people can’t afford the fee to get in — they’re welcome anyways.”
Last year’s seed exchange was a big success, drawing a crowd of about 270 people, said Christine Taylor, FoCuS secretary. Holding the event at Columbia Elementary this year allows for more space for activities and speakers, she said.
According to Taylor and Mitchell, local growers are encouraged to bring in non-genetically modified seeds to share.
“It’s a good way to raise awareness and also give back to the community,” Taylor said.
FoCuS is a nonprofit group that educates people about sustainable living and local community self-reliance, Mitchell said.