Ashley Nelson feeding an animal in the petting zoo during the Urban Farm Festival at Westerner Park Saturday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Farming and urban living come together in Red Deer

You don’t have to live on a farm to grow your own food.

Central Albertans learned that during the second Urban Farm Festival at Westerner Park’s Agricentre Saturday, where agriculture and city-living were brought together.

The event grew significantly in its second year, said Christina Sturgeon, Westerner Park agriculture events sales and production co-ordinator.

“The first year we had six workshops and this year we’ve had 15 workshops. It’s kind of doubled in size … and so hopefully we can keep growing it as we move forward,” she said.

Sturgeon said event attendees particularly like the hands-on workshops: butter-churning, rainwater harvesting, extending the gardening season, and more.

Sturgeon said she wants the festival to be more than just a place people can learn gardening tips.

“We hope to encourage more people in the city to look more at what they can produce for themselves, and we hope to create a real educational space for food production and preservation,” she said.

READ MORE: The first Urban Farm Festival

Shannon Ruzicka, festival keynote speaker, is no stranger to growing and raising her own food. Ruzicka and her family, who live near Viking, east of Wetaskiwin, went an entire year living off their own land.

“We were already farmers and grow a big garden and raise our own meat, but it still wasn’t easy,” said Ruzicka.

Ruzicka said she and her family decided to go a year without buying food after reading her great-grandfather’s autobiography.

“He would talk about the hardships Europeans had when they came and settled in Canada,” Ruzicka said. “They’d walk thousands of miles and cut down trees to build their house … and I started to realize we’re such sucks. Let’s be real, we’re sucks.”

Ruzicka said she spoke at the festival to inspire Central Albertans who are interested growing their own food.

“We don’t need to rely on grocery stores, we don’t need to rely on big chains or be slaves to our own wants,” she said.

The festival is just one of things the park does to promote food production and preservation. Westerner has an urban farm site in the middle of its racetrack, where refugees can learn how to grow food in an urban setting in this climate. The park also holds a long table dinner every year with foods from the urban farm site and local producers.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Charity Briere leads a native bees workshop at the Urban Farm Festival at Westerner Park Saturday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Just Posted

Central Alberta Archers Association: Proposed safe drug consumption service location puts youth at risk

Turning Point proposes second location for a permanent safe consumption service in Red Deer

Man dead following altercation at gas station on Sunchild First Nation

Rocky Mountain RCMP say victim succumbed to injuries in hospital

UCP member apologizes for ‘unintentionally’ comparing pride flag to swastikas

A member of Alberta’s United Conservative Party is apologizing for making what… Continue reading

Crowd watches as backhoe rips into mangled plane after Halifax runway overrun

HALIFAX — Crews have begun tearing into the mangled Boeing 747 cargo… Continue reading

Grim search for more fire victims, 31 dead across California

PARADISE, Calif. — The death toll from the wildfire that incinerated Paradise… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer RCMP introduce downtown policing unit

A four-member downtown Red Deer RCMP unit hit the beat on Thursday… Continue reading

Comic book genius Stan Lee, Spider-Man creator, dies at 95

LOS ANGELES — Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic… Continue reading

Canada intelligence officials have heard audio of Khashoggi murder, Trudeau says

PARIS — Justin Trudeau says Canadian intelligence officials have listened to a… Continue reading

Canada hoping to solve U.S. tariff dispute by G20 meetings at month’s end: PM

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s hopeful that Canada can… Continue reading

Bishops will delay votes on steps to combat sex abuse crisis

BALTIMORE — In an abrupt change of plans, the president of the… Continue reading

Man at centre of Nobel body scandal tests rape conviction

STOCKHOLM — The man at the centre of the scandal at the… Continue reading

Chinese premier urges guard of free trade on Singapore visit

SINGAPORE — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed the need for free trade… Continue reading

50 countries vow to fight cybercrime – US and Russia don’t

PARIS — Fifty nations and over 150 tech companies pledged Monday to… Continue reading

More women in poor countries use contraception, says report

KIGALI, Rwanda — More women and girls in poor countries are using… Continue reading

Most Read