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.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month