LITTLE ROCK – The Cooperative Extension Service’s “Grow Your Own Groceries” online presentation series will continue in 2022. The virtual courses connect Arkansans with the expertise of agents in growing, preparing and preserving fruits and vegetables at home.
“We got very good answers,” said Krista Quinn, an agricultural agent at the Faulkner County Extension Office, which is part of the University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture. “We get a lot of emails and sometimes even handwritten notes from those who say thank you. All webinars are free and I think it meets the need. Because of the epidemic, many more are interested in vegetable gardening or growing some edible plant in their own garden, so these programs really provide a lot of information to get you started. ”
In the most recent program year, from October 2020 to September 2021, “Grow Your Own Groceries” hosted 21 live Zoom performances with more than 8,500 applicants for classes. Each registrant received an email following the program with a link to view the recorded program and access the datasheets and recipes. Many people opted for the recorded show rather than the live broadcast.
Quinn added that the program provides information for gardeners of all types, skill levels, and with varying access to resources.
“Everyone has different resources,” Quinn said. “Whether people grow in the ground, in containers or in high beds, we try to provide information about them.”
In each one-hour lecture, an agricultural agent or specialist discusses the crop: how to choose the right variety, how to grow it, how to treat common pests and problems. A family and consumer science agent then discusses nutrition and food preservation and gives a cooking demonstration.
The first “Grow Your Own Groceries” class in 2022 will take place on Thursday, January 13, at noon, with a theme of micro-greens.
“The topic of micro-greens is fun because it’s an edible plant that people can grow indoors in the winter or at any time of the year,” Quinn said. “Not much can be harvested in January.”
Classes were held on the first and third Thursday of each month last year, but as more and more personal programming is coming back, Quinn said the webinars now take place on a monthly basis.
Although all the dates and topics in this year’s series are not yet final, Quinn said the classes will continue to focus primarily on individual plants, with occasional lectures on more general topics. Quinn added that he hopes to offer a “Getting Started with Vegetable Gardening” session for beginners this year.
To register for the Grow Your Own Groceries: Microgreens demo and learn about the upcoming lessons, visit https://www.uaex.uada.edu/grow-groceries. You can also view all upcoming gardening events at https://www.uaex.uada.edu/yard-garden/gardening-events-programs/.