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Gardening and More: Dairy-Ag Fest adds talks for farmers and gardeners

A new feature—a series of talks for backyard gardeners as well as farmers— is being added to the Western New York Dairy/Agricultural Festival this year.

The talks will be held Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, in the Town Hall, 86 Franklin St., Springville.

I’ll kick off the talks at 1 p.m. Saturday with “45 Gardening Tips in 45 Minutes.” I’ll share some of the best tips I’ve come across while interviewing home gardeners and gardening experts. I have to cover one tip per minute, so it will be exciting to see if I can squeeze them all in! Even beginning gardeners should come away with one or two things they can use in their own garden.

If you’re a gardener who wants to try something more ambitious, you should check out the talk by Kate Johnson, a young woman who lives just outside the village of Springville. At 2 p.m. Saturday she will talk about how her family grows food and raises chickens. Holly Haddad, treasurer for the festival, was telling me about everything Johnson produces, they may call it gardening, but I think it borders on farming.

Since this is an agricultural festival, some of the talks are indeed geared to farmers, Haddad said. Many of the farmers in this area were dairy farmers but have had to diversify. One farmer will talk about how she connected with a Buffalo chef to bring fresh organic produce to the table. That talk takes place Sunday at 1 p.m.

Yet another group that organizers hope to reach in these talks are those who might be interested in starting a community garden, Haddad said. She noted that a new senior center is planned in Springville, and it has space available that could be used for a community garden. That talk will be on Saturday, at 4 p.m.

When you come in for the talks, make sure you stop by the information tables, too, for information on various gardening topics.

Here’s the entire list of talks:


1-2 p.m. – Connie Oswald Stofko, author of Gardening & More “45 Gardening Tips in 45 Minutes.”

2-3 p.m. – Kate Johnson, private farmer in Springville “Backyard Food Production: A Personal Account.” This is one family’s experience gardening, canning and raising chickens.

3-4:00 p.m. – Mary J. Bolo of The Lord’s Garden & Tea Room in Eden “Garden Design and Curb Appeal” and “Three Principles for Good Design.”

4-5 p.m. – Daniel Roeloss of the Arden Farm in East Aurora “Community Gardening” and “Soil Preparation.”


1-2 p.m. – Margaret Kraupp and Jody Alsbrook, “The Farm to Table Experiment: How a Buffalo Chef and Local Farmer Partnered to Bring Fresh Organic Produce to the Table.” This will be an informative and sometimes hilarious look at their two-year experiment.

2-3 p.m.– Jack Mann of Brant Apple Farm, “From Dairy to Diversity.”

3-4 p.m. – Stew Ritchie of Native Offerings Farm, LLC in Little Valley, “Plants that Work Here.”

4-5 p.m. – Bruce Robinson, forester and master gardener, “Wood Lot Development/Improvement” and “Birds, Bugs & Butterflies.”

The festival starts on Friday, June 6, and includes a parade, music, rides, vendors, the crowning of the dairy princess and more. You can find more information about the festival at its website at

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email


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