The National Heirloom Expo – Sept 10-12, 2019
The National Heirloom Expo will be held September 10, 11, & 12 at the Sonoma County fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. The Expo will feature over 300 vendors with thousands of heirloom varieties from across America, as well as workshops, speakers, a contest, art show, music, and much more.
Bioneers spoke to the organizers to find out more details about what attendees can expect this year.
How did the Heirloom Expo begin and grow to be the largest gathering of its kind in the world?
The Heirloom Expo began when Baker Creek owner Jere Gettle and Petaluma Seedbank manager Paul Wallace conceived the idea to bring Heirloom enthusiasts from around the world together for collaboration, education, and sharing. It grew to be the largest of its kind in the world because it offers something new every year, in addition to keeping within its original goals to focus on heirlooms, sustainable living, pure food, homesteading, organic growing, and other related topics. The Expo and is an open, welcoming, joyful, celebration of 20,000 plus attendees, organizations coming together, becoming motivated, inspired, catalysts empowered for saving themselves, the world and supporting the world in what it can be through global acceptance and implementation of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
You always have very prominent speakers at the Expo. Who’ll be there this year?
We’ll have more than 100 nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers. Dr. Vandana Shiva is the most prominent this year. A pure food and seed advocate from India, her audiences are always filled to capacity when she participates.
Also speaking are: Robert Kennedy, Jr.; Ocean Robbins, host of The Food Revolution Network; David Johnson, creator of the Bioreactor, Bring Soil Back to Life; Taylor Herron from Kiss the Ground, Regenerative Agriculture; Lars Howlett Howlett, Labyrinth Builder, as well as anti-GMO activists Jeffrey Smith, Ronnie Cummings and many others. We have other people traveling from Jamaica, India, Palestine, and South Africa, as well as Guatemalan farmers who are returning this year.
The event lasts for 3 days and there are so many activities and educational opportunities that you offer attendees. What are some of the highlights this year?
We have a lot of activities during the Expo, including: 4,000 varieties display of Heirloom Produce; 30 kitchens of globally inspired cuisine, Giant Free Food Tasting, Giant Free Seed Swap; International Vegetable and Seed Artists; 300 vendors; 150 exhibitors; Colossal Dahlia Exhibit; Hundreds of Heirloom Birds/Chickens; Great Pumpkin Contest; Labyrinth Walks. We also offer classes where you can learn from best known gardeners and farmers, many who are very popular on YouTube. We also have a fiddle contest, giant vegetable contests, dahlia contests, and others.
The Expo is very child friendly. What can they look forward to at the event?
Children really enjoy the Expo where they can participate in the Kids Heirloom Festival, as well as classes, games and contests. We also have special play areas for children.
David Johnson, a molecular biologist and research scientist from New Mexico State University and an Adjunct Professor at CSU Chico, will be demonstrating how to create a composting bioreactor. Tell us all about that.
The Johnson-Su bioreactor is a system that creates an inocula to bring lifeless soils back to life by reintroducing beneficial microorganisms to the soil with biologically enhanced compost. The bioreactor can be built in a day by one person using simple tools and about $40 of readily available materials. The design is scalable for home, farm, or commercial settings.
David and Hui-Chun Su Johnson’s research has observed that the regeneration of the soil microbial community’s population, structure, diversity and biological functionality allows us to imitate natural biological processes for securing all needed nutrients for growing crops. This process mimics what we are seeing in the human microbiome with regards to how our own microbiome is intimately related to our health and well-being. Soils are no different, and regeneration of the soil microbiome restores soil health, fertility, productivity and farmer and rancher profitability. The end product of the Johnson-Su bioreactor offers an inexpensive, easy-to-make, microbially-diverse inocula that helps kickstart this soil microbiome restoration process, speeding up the rebuilding of soils in agroecosystems
Tell us more about Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, the organizer of the Expo?
To achieve a healthy planet, Baker Creek gives globally free seed and financial assistance for acceptance/implementation of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They distribute free seed to schools, community and urban gardens. They ship free seeds to encourage individual and community food sustainability.
The most active participation and collaboration is with individuals and organizations focused on SDGs of Zero Hunger (Food), Good Health and Well Being, and Climate Action, which is directly and indirectly related to achieving Healthy Soil, Seed, Food, Living, and A Healthy Planet. Regenerative agriculture is an umbrella that addresses many of the SDGs.
Baker Creek is establishing its center in Baker Creek, MO and Glore Mill, County Mayo, Ireland as Regenerative Agricultural Hubs and Regenerative Training Centers for global acceptance/implementation of Regenerative Agriculture. It has David Johnson Bioreactors at Baker Creek and the Glore Mill and Expo in Santa Rosa. It is collaborating with a number of national/international organizations including: www.planetarycare.org, biodiversityireland.ie/pollinator-plan, www.soilhealthconsultants.com, www.kisstheground.com, www.organicconsumers.com,bio4climate.org
How can our readers participate, where do they go for information?
Expo organizers are still scheduling volunteers to assist at the expo. There is also still plenty of time to sign up to be an exhibitor or a vendor. They can also participate in any of the contests, or just come and enjoy all the activities. An overview of speakers, events, activities and other information can be found at www.heirloomexpo.com or email email@example.com.