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Over 160 classes offered at Country Living Expo

Jan 17th, 2012 | Category: Events, Features

STANWOOD – The annual Country Living Expo and Cattleman’s Winterschool returns on Saturday, Jan. 28, offering more classes than ever. A total of 160 classes and workshops in country living, self-reliance, sustainability, maintenance and more will be available to participants at the all-day event at Stanwood High School.

The event includes classes and workshops, as well as demonstrations, lunch and a chance to meet businesses providing agricultural services from across the Northwest.

The classes, taught by local instructors, range from food preservation and backyard chicken flock to cheesemaking and gardening. New this year, according to Program Coordinator Joan Devries, are subjects such as grinding your own grains, permaculture homesteading, making jerky, braising inexpensive meats, integrating small livestock into a city yard, and tackling poultry issues such as hatching. In addition, classes to help stretch food dollars, as well as dying yarns, processing fiber, and beekeeping are also sought after.

What started as the Cattleman’s Winterschool more than 25 years ago, merged with the Country Living Expo in 2002, creating the event held each winter. Over the last few years, the Expo continues to grow, drawing a larger attendance than expected each year. Nearly 1,200 people came through the door last year.

The event brings people together to gain knowledge from local instructors and information about becoming more self-reliant and sustainable, Devries said. “We want to put education into the hands of the folks who can use it.” She added students (ages 12-18) are welcome to attend, and event organizers enjoy knowing the information is being passed on to the younger generation – “the future of our community.”

Sponsors of the event are key, and include the Stanwood High School FFA, WSU Skagit County Extension, WSU Livestock Master Foundation, and Snohomish Cattleman’s Association. In addition, 14 volunteers help make the event happen, many of them are livestock advisers who “get a little addicted to” the planning, Devries said. “They are an amazing group of volunteers. Many hands make light work.”

Participants must register for the Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool. The cost is $60 per person and includes lunch and six sessions of their choice. Students (ages 12-18) can attend for only $10. For more information about the class schedule, or to register online, visit http://skagit.wsu.edu/countrylivingexpo/. Further questions can be directed to the WSU Skagit County Extension Office at (360) 428-4270, ext 0.

–Published in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Grow Northwest

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