Backyard Basics Expo March 28 to offer back-to-basics instruction, demonstrations

SAN ANTONIO — The Backyard Basics Exposition March 28 in San Antonio will provide information, educational opportunities and hands-on demonstrations related to producing, preparing and preserving homegrown and homemade foods, said coordinators.

The expo, presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will take place from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at the at the Madison High School Agriscience Magnet Program facility, 5005 Stahl Road, San Antonio.

There will be a variety of concurrent learning sessions at the Backyard Basics Exposition March 28 in San Antonio. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

There will be a variety of concurrent learning sessions at the Backyard Basics Exposition March 28 in San Antonio. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service)

“This event touts the art of self-reliance and healthy living through homemade and homegrown foods,” said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for family and consumer sciences for Bexar County. “People are more interested than ever about where their food comes from and how it is prepared. This expo shows people some basics of growing and making their own food.”

Registration will be from 8:30-9 a.m., followed by a welcome and overview. Educational sessions will run concurrently, with the first sessions from 9:45–10:40 a.m., the second from 10:45–11:30 a.m. and the third from 1:35–2:25 p.m.

The registration fee for the expo is $20 and covers all educational sessions. There is no charge for children under 16, and on-site parking is free. To register, go to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Conference Services website at http://agriliferegister.tamu.edu or call 979-845-2604.

Sessions will cover a number of topics related to homemade foods, including making yogurt and buttermilk, flavored vinegar and herb mix, and mozzarella from store-bought milk. Horticultural sessions will address patio and landscape citrus, seasonal vegetable gardening and backyard orchards, edible landscapes, container and vertical gardening, and food-producing permaculture.

Other backyard topics will include raising chickens, egg production and beekeeping.

The Backyard Basics program was initiated by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in response to public interest in homegrown and homemade foods.  (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service) photo)

The Backyard Basics program was initiated by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in response to public interest in homegrown and homemade foods.
(Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“There will also be food preservation sessions where we will demonstrate water-bath and pressure canning,” said Sheppard. “We’ll also have a presentation on growing olive trees in the yard and using olives in recipes.”

She said additional session topics will include rainwater harvesting and home aquaponics, as well as gardening with kids, outdoor grilling and sausage-making.

Do-it-yourself demonstrations will include how to build a rain barrel, chicken coop and raised-bed garden.

“Attendees are asked to choose one class or do-it-yourself demo per concurrent session time frame,” Sheppard said. “We want people to get the most out of each session they choose by staying for the entire time. It’s also important that we minimize any distractions from people leaving one session and going to another during the same time frame.”

An agenda of concurrent sessions and times will be available on the AgriLife Extension website for Bexar County at http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/ .

The expo also will have a separate vendor area where attendees can learn about products and services that relate to many event topics or activities.

Daphne Richards, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in Travis County and a regular on the Central Texas Gardener program on KLRU-TV in Austin, will be the event’s keynote speaker. She will be joined by Augie the Plant Doggie, also seen on the Central Texas Gardener show.

There is no registration for individual sessions, but there may be space limitations for some sessions. Attendees are requested to find a seat at their chosen sessions as quickly as possible, according to organizers.

Lunch is not included in the event cost, but an on-site concession stand will be open during the entire event for lunch, snack and refreshment purchases.

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