Berthoud Local offers educational series to promote self-sufficiency
By Shelley Widhalm
Big changes are coming up this spring and summer for Berthoud Local. The biggest may be the Town of Berthoud will be taking over the farmer’s market and operating it on Thursday afternoon instead of Saturday. “The town will run the farmer’s market. We will still be involved in the market, but we’re shifting from running it to being a participant,” said Vickie Dunn, vice president of Berthoud Local.
Berthoud Local’s educational series helps local residents gain the key skills they need to get started in making and growing their own things.
Being self-sufficient might mean learning how to grow a garden, do some beekeeping and make your own salt scrubs.
“We want to help the community grow their knowledge base, so they know how to do some of these simple things for themselves and improve the quality of their life by learning new skills,” said Dunn, chairwoman of the educational committee. “It’s to help people become more knowledgeable of simple ways they can take care of themselves and improve their self-sufficiency.”
The 2023 Educational Series! includes 16 classes from January to June and September to November. The series is in its second year this year after being hosted off and on over the last several years. So far, four classes have been held and another six are planned for the spring and six and possibly more for the fall.
“We’ve done educational events off and on over the years, but we lagged behind with our focus on the farmer’s market and community garden,” Dunn said.
Seven of the classes are new this year and are about topics like natural cleansers and the ecosystem on March 5, beekeeping on March 25, and raised bed and lasagna gardening on April 15 during the spring session. The fall session will have new classes on drying and freezing harvested foods, medicinal herbs and making your own salt scrubs.
The classes are typically two hours and are held at different locations. Sometimes a larger space is needed or access to a garden, or the class is held in the presenter’s home to avoid hauling around items and to add to the ease of demonstrations and hands-on activities.
Two of the spring classes, beekeeping and xeriscape gardening, are at the Berthoud Community Library District (registration is required there instead of through Berthoud Local). Other classes are at local businesses, like the one on natural cleansers at The Source Zero NoCo in Berthoud.
“It’s a way for us to promote local business,” Dunn said. “It’s also a way to help people understand how they can take better care of themselves and contribute to positive things in the environment.”
Attendance for the classes varies — sometimes there are three to four attendees and sometimes a dozen, often driven by the day or time of the week. Attendees sometimes have goodies to take home or can purchase items to continue growing or making the things they learned about.
“It’s nice to get people out to where things are happening, so they feel more connected in the community,” Dunn said, adding that there is a second reason for hosting the series. “It’s a sneaky way to get people involved in volunteering.”
Berthoud Local has about 10 volunteers both for the organization and the Pioneer Park Community Garden, which grows fruits, vegetables and flowers. The organization provides access to local food, educates about sustainable agricultural practices and encourages local food production.
As part of that education, Berthoud Local will hold the Berthoud Local Showcase and Celebration at City Star Brewing 5-8 p.m. on March 22 in lieu of its annual silent auction.
“We want to educate people in the projects we run and let them know ways they can be involved,” Dunn said, adding that some of the education will involve the farmer’s market.
For more details about Berthoud Local or to register for the 2023 Educational Series!, visit berthoudlocal.org. The classes in the series for the spring session are at 1 p.m. and include:
• March 25, Raising Backyard Chickens, 101 Bothun Road
• April 1, Beekeeping with Beth Conrey, Berthoud Community Library District
• April 15, Raised Beds & Lasagna Garden Conversation, 1217 Elm Drive
• May 6, Hands-on Gardening, Pioneer Park Community Garden
• May 20, Composting 101, Pioneer Park Community Garden
• June 10, Xeriscape Gardening, Berthoud Community Library District
Editor’s note: The farmers market will be held on Thursdays from 4 – 7 p.m. in Fickel Park from June 8 through Sept. 21, 2023. Vendor registration is currently open at Berthoud.org/.
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