WSU'S 'BEST-KEPT SECRET' University Extension Program, Now Celebrating Its First 100 Years,offers Classes on Urban Goats, Forestry, Gardening and Much More

By Prager, Mike | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), May 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

WSU'S 'BEST-KEPT SECRET' University Extension Program, Now Celebrating Its First 100 Years,offers Classes on Urban Goats, Forestry, Gardening and Much More


Prager, Mike, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


Gonzaga student Liz Kiefer, center, works with classmates Allison Mitchell, left, and Jane Timberlake at Catholic Charities Vineger Flats Community Farm on Thursday in Spokane.

A group of college students pitched in last week to help get a community garden growing for the season in southwest Spokane.

The 18,000-square-foot plot uses the latest techniques in vegetable and berry farming to provide produce to low-income residents in the city.

Their partner is Washington State University Extension, which this week is celebrating its 100th year of providing research and assistance to Spokane and other counties in the state.

"We are looking at plugging some of the gaps in the existing food system," said Brian Estes, program coordinator for the farm, which is operated through Catholic Charities on a donated plot.

The Vinegar Flats Community Farm was established in 2002 to help residents at the St. Margaret's Shelter for women and children. It has evolved into providing fresh seasonal produce throughout the community, some of which is sold at local farmers markets.

WSU Spokane County Extension "has been a hub and connector" for making the garden productive with advice on the use of compost fertilizer, hoop houses and other techniques to maximize production, Estes said.

Consumers who are turning to locally produced food may not know that the WSU extension service is working hard to increase the supply of that food.

"Extension is the best-kept secret," said Dori Babcock, extension director in Spokane County. …

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