September 23, 2013

Home Briefs: Sept. 23, 2013

LAURIE DAVIS, Cornell Co-op Extension

---- — Rural Skills and Homesteading Fest set for Saturday

PAUL SMITHS — The 2013 Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Paul Smith’s College VIC.

The daylong event focuses on the growing homesteading movement. More than 800 people came to last year’s event at the VIC. This year, guests will find activities such as the 5K Homesteaders’ Challenge, a relay race that pits participants against each other in different skills, including fire building and chicken herding. The Modern Times Theater group will perform skits related to “the myth of progress.”

Paul Smith’s College faculty, staff and students, as well as representatives of area organizations, will offer a series of lectures and hands-on workshops throughout the day. More than three dozen sessions will be held, including a workshop on using draft horses in the field, butter making, maple production and gardening workshops.

Additionally, the Paul Smith’s College woodsmen’s team will stage an exhibition, and the Adirondack Farmers’ Market will be open. Celia Evans, Kary Johnson and Curt Stager will perform music as well.

The cost is $5 per person or $10 per carload. For a complete schedule and other information on the festival, visit


Kent-Delord House offering ‘Nooksand Crannies Tour’ 

PLATTSBURGH — The Kent-Delord House Museum is hosting a “Nooks and Crannies Tour” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at its 17 Cumberland Ave. location.

Visitors will be able to see the upstairs, attic and basement areas of the Kent-Delord House, which are not seen on a regular tour.

Admission is $5, with preregistration requested by calling 561-1035.


St. Louis urban farming alarms some neighbors

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 10-block stretch of land in north St. Louis is an unusual place for a farm, and not everyone living nearby welcomes the mesh of agriculture with urban life.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the land was purchased last year from the city by Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration LLC, then leased to a farming company founded by Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who grew up in East St. Louis, Ill.

It is perhaps the nation’s largest urban agriculture experiment, billed as a way to put vacant urban land to good use.

Some nearby residents see the rows of corn and soybeans as a nuisance. They cite an increase in pests such as bugs and possums and say cars drag race at night, hidden by tall stalks of corn.

There is also the jarring shift from living in a depopulated urban neighborhood to living next to a farm.

“I’m all for progress,” said Joyce Cooks. “But I don’t want to live on a farm. I’m a city girl.”

Joyner-Kersee founded Family Roots International, which farms on the 62-acre urban lot, mostly long-vacant blocks near the site of the old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex. Attorney Maurice Foxworth said that as soon as McKee wants to use the land for something else, the farm will relocate.

“I don’t think there’s a shortage of vacant land,” Foxworth said.

The company is seeking to grow crops in ground that might contain lead or asphalt or old basements, with inconsistent irrigation and weeds not found in a rural field.

Foxworth said it is part of a strategy to bring the plant sciences industry to the inner city, provide jobs and make money.