By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City’s first inaugural Urban Ag film series is now scheduled for August and September. The event will feature local gardens and farms and raise awareness about fall gardening with classes and garden tours.
The OKC Urban Ag Coalition is a new group comprised of urban farms, community gardens, non-profits and supportive businesses.
A series of films and a week of educational events and activities have been designed to highlight the benefits of raising food in the city – especially in the fall. Event organizers say that’s when weather conditions are ideal for many plants.
“Oklahoma’s heat and drought can be a challenge for gardeners,” said the Coalition’s Co-chair Kat Gant, a sustainable horticulture teacher at OSU-OKC and Director of Community Relations for TLC Gardens.
“We want to help people be successful in growing food. Many people don’t realize that fall is a perfect time for gardening,” Gant added. “The cooler fall weather means less weeding and watering, and many greens and vegetables do very well until November.
“Some can even survive through the winter, with a little bit of protection,” she said. “Fall is also a perfect time to plant trees and perennials.”
The Urban Ag film series is sponsored by TLC Gardens with support from Myriad Botanical Gardens and Transition OKC, a catalyst for healthier, more resilient and sustainable communities.
Films will be screened at the Myriad Botanical Gardens and are followed by informal receptions. Tickets are priced at $5.
On Friday, August 8, a screening of “More Than Honey,” a film about the decline of honeybees will be featured. On Friday, August 22, “Symphony of the Soil,” a documentary about the complex web of life in a teaspoon of soil, will be shown.
The series highlights issues central to the local food, gardening and agriculture movement. The films will cover the collapse of honeybee populations, the importance of topsoil, and the rise of urban farming as a way for people to connect with their food.
Urban Ag Week runs from September 1 – 7. There will be a lecture and workshop on Wednesday, September 3, from 7-9 p.m., hosted by nationally-recognized organic gardening expert Howard Garrett, also known as the “Dirt Doctor.”
Garrett will provide advice on natural organic gardening, landscaping, pest control and natural living.
Several other events will be featured including the inaugural Oklahoma City Urban Farm and Garden tour. It will showcase a variety of attractive edible landscapes, community and backyard gardens, and urban farms throughout the metropolitan area.
According to Elia Woods of CommonWealth Urban Farms, the series of events was inspired by the Oklahoma City Council’s December 2013 adoption of an ordinance that supports and embraces urban agriculture, including clear provisions for composting, greenhouses, rainwater harvesting, and front-yard gardening.
On Thursday, September 4, a third film “Growing Cities,” will screen at Myriad Gardens with a reception following. It will detail the benefits brought to numerous American cities through urban farming.
Also on September 4, from 10 – 11:30 a.m. two lectures at Myriad Gardens will feature the benefits of growing food in the fall in Oklahoma as well as a tree planting demonstration.
All day Saturday, September 9, there will be tours of gardens and urban ag projects around Oklahoma City.
“There is a fabulous diversity of urban agriculture in our City,” Woods said. “We hope the tour and other events will inspire people to grow food for their family, friends, and neighbors and by doing so, help their communities grow and thrive as well.”
To purchase tickets for the Urban Ag film screenings and Howard Garrett events, call Ashley Elkins at the Myriad Gardens at 405-445-7080. Tickets will also be available via the website closer to the event dates.
For more information call 405-524-1864 or visit http://www.goinglocalokc.com.