AUBURN | With only a handful of weeks left in winter, the Cayuga County Health Department is getting locals prepped for spring.
The department hosted a free gardening program at the Auburn Public Theater on Sunday. The event brought together a number of local organizations to promote healthy living and awareness of Auburn-area foods.
“It shows you can get great local food in Cayuga County,” said Sabrina Hesford of the Cayuga County Health Department. “And when you spend local, your money stays local.”
The program was a five-hour event with different activities and presentations planned throughout the day. Attendees were educated in the ways of smart gardening through presentations on pest management and effective means of growing food.
Beyond the scheduled presentations, the APT was transformed into an open house of sorts for the gathered organizations and businesses. Several of these — such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Seymour Library and the health department — provided attendees with various resources concerning healthy living.
Others were informative about some local initiatives such as the Auburn Housing Authority’s community gardening project and Community Supported Agriculture’s local food distribution system.
Representing the farmers market of Auburn was Dave Wilczek, of Wilczek Farms in Fleming. Wilczek, the vice president of the farmers market board, handed out contact information for local farmers and apples from Owen Orchards as part of the market’s method of promoting local awareness.
Much of the farms’ community outreach comes before April, which is when things start to get busy around the farms as the snow starts to thaw, he said.
“For us, it helps people realize what the farmers market is and where the food is coming from,” Wilczek said. “Something like this helps to get people out, I guess.”
The contacts will prove valuable in the future, said Auburn resident Sicily Rumpf. Rumpf, who found out about the event through signage, said the event helped catered to her interests in fruits, vegetables and gardening.
In connecting with the local farmers, the Auburn resident said she’d like to do the best she can to buy local when possible.
“I’m going to try to support them,” she said.