The National Heirloom Expo took place on the tenth through the twelfth of September on the Santa Rosa fairgrounds in the Californian Northbay Area. The Expo is a celebration of heirloom strains, organic farming, and good food. It brings speakers from all over the county and even internationally; this year, the organizers welcomed as a keynote speaker Vandana Shiva, a famous activist, scientist, and author- eco movie enthusiasts will recall she is an authority featured in documentaries such as "Dirt! The Movie."
At the main entrance of the event, an anti-GMO activist group raised funds with a dunk-tank, and nearby, Petaluma Pete played ragtime tunes on an upright piano. Along the broad walkways from the gate, food vendor booths were set up, selling such items as flavored artisan popcorn. Beyond, a bluegrass group performing on a stage drew an audience sitting on convenient hay bales or eating at picnic tables.
Inside the Grace Pavilion, away from the hot September sun, were a myriad of vendors. These included local farms and community supported agriculture, artisans, authors, innovators, and businesses selling all sorts of seeds, composted dirt, watering systems, books, and more. All of them were enthusiastic and happy to be at the Expo. A few had even wandered away to visit other booths. Many were local, but a few had traveled from across the United States to be there.
The National Heirloom Expo is a treat, and a fun, educational way to spend an afternoon or three. You might even find yourself returning with an armload of jams, local honeys, baskets, seeds, and young plants. The Expo is a yearly event, so watch the website (theheirloomexpo.com) for a date for next fall.