Local agriculture needs your help

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If you have a passion for preserving rural character and economic development in local agriculture, viticulture, farm-related business and community services, The new Mill Spring Agricultural Development Center wants you.

This Saturday, March 27, is 100 Friends of Agriculture Volunteer Day at Polk Countys new Ag Center, the former Mill Spring School. Its a great way to meet like-minded community, learn new skill, network for the upcoming growing season and Farmers Markets and actively make a positive contribution to Polk Countys agricultural economic development.

Volunteering at Mill Spring Ag Center, and ways you can contribute:

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March 27 Workday: Two shifts: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. Work one shift or both. Free lunch for all volunteers.

Jobs include scraping, painting, landscaping, gardening, organizing, light construction, grounds and building beautification.

A second way to participate this weekend and beyond is through the donation of materials and supplies. The new Ag Center is currently seeking a forklift, office equipment, furniture, power tools, cleaning supplies, landscaping equipment, interior and exterior paint, art supplies, commercial kitchen appliances, musical instruments, tractors and other heavy equipment.

Finally monetary donations of any denomination help the Ag Centers limited budget for abandoned building restoration and project completions. Monetary donations will be placed in a special account and can be designated for specific projects. There are many opportunities for larger dedicated donations.

Currently planned future projects for the Ag Center include soil and water conservation programs, agribusiness, agriforestry and business development, commercial culinary center, retail farm store and a Community-Supported Agriculture Subscription Program (CSA).

PolkFresh, the Ag Centers CSA program, is now open for individuals and families to subscribe to for the summer/fall growing season. Sign-ups are open through April 30. Information on the PolkFresh CSA program is available at www.polkcountyfarms.org.

Register to volunteer this Saturday by calling 828-894-2281 and sign up for morning or afternoon shift. Mention if you are an individual or a group and what special restoration/construction/gardening skills you may have. Or e-mail lsprague@polknc.org.

Volunteer credit hours are available for any students/civic club members or other organizations.

All volunteers are acknowledged on the website, www.polkfarms.org and are invited to attend the Ag Center Open House held Sunday, May 2.