May 6 Pansy Festival

Pansy Festival and Earth Day Teach-In

Come join your neighbors young and old in celebrating spring with colorful field-grown pansies.  The free Third Annual Pansy Festival takes place Saturday, May 6 from noon to 3 p.m. at Singing River Farm on Brockways Mills Road, just 1/10 of a mile north of route 103 in Rockingham.

Pansies are a colorful harbinger of spring. Singing River Farm’s field-grown pansies are nurtured to grow as nature intends with strong, large root systems. This is the big difference between field-grown and commercially raised hot-house pansies sold in cell pack trays. Field-grown pansies are better able to thrive in times of drought. Laurel saves her own seeds to start the pansies growing during the summer and in the fall she transplants seedlings from nursery beds to growing beds. The pansies overwinter under a thin blanket of pine needle mulch. As the days lengthen in the spring, each pansy plant puts on a burst of growth and begins blooming. Field-grown pansies of many colors will be available for sale at the festival.

The festival will also feature an Earth Day Teach-In where several organizations from the region will share insights into how our area is already affected by climate change and what we can do locally in response. Learn how Janice Leary-Jones of The Homestead Collective has been growing food for her family of five for the past decade. Charis Boke, activist, herbalist and owner of Fierce Blossom Apothecary, will share her wealth of knowledge about the healing power of plants. Emily Burkland, owner of Community Art Garden in Chester, is bringing crafts related to the environment. Devin Smith of Witness Oak Polycultures, well-versed in permaculture, will share knowledge about fruit trees and is also bringing nursery stock to sell.

Free activities include pansy facts, group singing, giant parachute games and face painting. You can also have your photo taken in a giant pansy cut out.  Cooperative games, also called “New Games,” will be led by Wendy Schwarz, owner of the Healing Experience.

The Pansy Festival is also an opportunity for you to enjoy a picnic.  You’re welcome to bring your own food, but a very tasty Mexican lunch will be available for sale by the farm’s neighbor María Valadez. She will offer homemade tacos, burritos and chips with fresh guacamole; vegetarian and gluten-free options also available. Laurel Green says María makes a “wicked good salsa!” Herb tea and lemonade will be offered at the Singing River Farm Stand.

A short program will start at 1 p.m. featuring a mix of songs, poems, a short history of the place and a few interesting facts about pansies and how to take care of them.  

The free event will take place outside in a meadow so it is suggested that you wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. There is no smoking or use of alcohol on the property. Singing River Farm also has a “no dogs allowed” policy for the safety of their guests and farm animals. Because parking is in the sun, for your dogs’ sake it is best to leave them at home.

Farmers Laurel Green and Steve Crofter welcome everyone to this community event! For more information, or to make arrangements for accessibility, call Laurel at 802-275-4646.

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