Friday, October 14, 2011

Trash to Art Contest Extension

The MountainKeepers are sponsoring a Trash to Art competition and the deadline has been extended to October 29th to get your art work into the Watauga County Library. The art will be on display throughout the month of October and judging will take place on Oct 31st. There are already 7 entries on display at the library!
Thinking of trash typically makes us think of dirty, smelly items that will end up in the landfills or on the sides of roads as litter. But much of this “trash” is recyclable, reusable, and is a resource we shouldn’t so quickly “throw away”. Where is “away” anyways? It’s still on the planet. Trash doesn’t have to go to a landfill or be a part of a negative environmental impact. It can be recycled, reused and redesigned into beautiful art as well as functional items.

Won’t you please join us in creating “Visions of our Future” trash art! You may be wondering, “What is Trash Art?” As part of the educational campaign for keeping litter out of our environment and waterways, the Mountain Keepers, Watauga County Cooperative Extension, Watauga River Partners, Watauga County Recycling, Town of Boone, Watauga County Library, Elkland Art Center, Stickboy Bread Co., Mast General Store, and Earthfare, are sponsoring a “trash to art” contest where the only rule is that your art must be less than 3ftx3ft in dimension and made out of 90% reused materials (recyclables and trash).
According to Watauga County Recycling Coordinator, Lisa Doty, an average of eight tractor trailer loads a day are sent to a landfill in Lenoir. Last year 39,784 tons of trash were exported out of Watauga County at a cost of $1,330,991. Recycling is not only good for the environment, but also for the County’s budget since we receive revenue from the sale of recycling. Recycling rates for all materials have continued to increase over the past few years with a 61 percent increase in plastic recycling since plastic bottles were banned from landfills in October of 2009, but there is still a lot of recyclable material that is being thrown in the trash. According to Watauga County Extension Agent, Wendy Patoprsty, “during this Falls River Clean Up, about 35% of the litter collected was glass and plastic bottles, and aluminum cans.

We throw away a lot of good trash. It’s amazing how usable our trash is, and we want to see the trash get a second life! Cindy Ball of Elkland Art Center says “trash is a really affordable medium to work with and its totally available, everywhere, literally.” It’s fun to start rethinking trash and how to minimize local and global impacts. Judith Winecoff of Watauga Library makes a good point when she said “we’re doing two things at once, cleaning up as we create art. So many times we don’t realize how much trash and litter is out there until we work with it and then we begin to take notice.” According to Marsha Story “recycling has skyrocketed over the last quarter in the Town of Boone, in fact curbside residential recycling was 81% participation over the last quarter!”

Entries can be brought to the Watauga County Library during open hours the month of Oct. Please turn your artwork in to Judith Winecoff. Rules: The art can be no larger that 3ft x 3ft and must be creations that consist of at least 90% reused or recycled materials, nothing in the art can be purchased! There will be two age divisions, youth 16 and under and adults over 17. Awards will be given in each division to the top three and each participant will receive a gift package and certificate. Art must be picked up the first week of November. You will receive your gifts and awards when art is picked up. Please contact Wendy Patoprsty at 264-3061 or email with any questions.

Friday, October 7, 2011

4-H Horse Show a Success

The Blue Ridge Equestrian Open Charity Horse Show hosted by 4-H was held September 24-25. The show was initiated by teens Jacqueline Walczak and Jazmyne Maxwell.  Having participated in 4-H horse shows at a local, district and state level in the past, the two wanted the local 4-H horse show to be revived after a couple years of inactivity. Others in the community have expressed the need for us to have a local show as well.

The teens demonstrated excellent leadership skills, responsibility and organization in preparing the class list, creating rules and guidelines, promoting sponsors,  participating in planning sessions and more.  Ashley Oliver volunteered to be the show manager. The event was held at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve. Nearly 60 participants competed in the show and nearly that many volunteers assisted.  The ASU Equestrian team was on hand, as well as the Lee’s McRae Equestrian team, to lend their horse show experience to the management of the show. The event was a great success and there were many requests to hold it again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Watauga High School Goes Local with Apples

With fall in full swing here in the High Country, one of our area specialty crops is in full swing... APPLES. To promote local food awareness at the Watauga High School, Extension FCS Agent, Margie Mansure, helped develop a comprehensive program.

Students from Mountain Alliance, a culinary class, and a travel and tourism class learned a bit more about the importance of supporting local foods. On Monday, Todd Nolte and his Mountain Alliance students picked apples from over 150 varieties at Moretz’s Mountain Orchard in Todd. They delivered 21 bushels to ProStart, a culinary class taught by Family and Consumer Science teacher Tierra Berry. The culinary students prepared 4 different recipes that were judged by teachers on flavor, creativity and appearance. Health promotion professionals judged the healthfulness of the recipes as well. Alison Garrett’s Travel and Tourism class (which includes marketing), spread the word about the apple tasting that was held on Friday, right after school. The class organized an apple trivia contest, designed a t-shirt promoting local food, and encouraged students to attend the recipe tasting by passing out local apples for students to enjoy on Friday morning.

This project was supported with grant funding from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. One of the purposes of the grant is to reach and educate more consumers about the value of locally grown produce. Partner organizations promoting local foods include NC Cooperative Extension, New River Organic Growers, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and High Country CSA. For more information about what you can do to support our local food economy, visit

Monday, October 3, 2011

Farm City, 2011

The 56th Annual Farm City Banquet will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 6:00PM at the Boone United Methodist Church located on New Market Boulevard in Boone. The theme for this years banquet is “High Country Grown” as we celebrate our High Country grown produce, programs, and people. Following a local food supper, we will recognize individuals for their contributions and support of our local agricultural economy. Local bluegrass musicians, the Blue Ribbon Boys, will provide entertainment. We will also have door prizes that will be given out at the end of the celebration.

This year, awards will be given out to individuals and/or businesses that have made significant contributions to agriculture; organizations, service or civic, that have benefited the community and agricultural economy, and groups that have made significant contributions to volunteerism, local agri-tourism, and socially-sustainable agricultural practices. Commodity groups also will award their respective producers of the year, and Watauga Soil and Water will present the Farm Family of the Year award.

Door prizes will include baskets filled with locally produced foods and other items. In addition, the Watauga Arts Council has arranged for a local artist to finish a piece of art with an agriculture theme to be given away at the event. This year, Watauga County Farm Bureau (Farm City's "Gold Sponsor") is also hosting a canned food drive at the Banquet. Guests are asked to please bring canned food items to be given to area food banks.

Nomination forms for Farm City Awards are available online HERE.

Tickets are $10.00 per person (children 5 and under eat for free; children 6-12, $5) and can be purchased at the NC Cooperative Extension Office, 971 W King St., Boone. No tickets will be sold at the door and ticket sales are limited to 250. For more info, please call 828-264-3061.

Watauga County Farm Bureau and our sponsors are a snapshot of the commodity associations, private businesses, and agencies that form a long list of those who support Agriculture one farm at a time...and WE THANK THEM:

Hollar and Greene Produce, Carolina Farm Credit, Southern AG, PHARMN, the Watauga County Farmers Market, the Watauga County Christmas Tree Association, Mountain Kubota of Boone, Allen Wealth Management, Critcher Brothers Produce, the Watauga Cattlemen’s Association, Watauga County Soil and Water, Goodnight Brothers Hams, Mountain Keepers, the Watauga Beekeepers Association, and Bandana’s.