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By Janis Mork

 April 24, 2013 (Rancho San Diego)- The 20th annual spring garden festival hosted by the Water Conservation Garden and Cuyamaca College, will be taking place this Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cuyamaca College. This festival includes experts on raising urban chickens, beekeeping and vegetable gardening, as well as garden professionals, a plant sale, animal encounters for kids, live music and more.

Elizabeth Ramos, director of marketing and events at the Water Conservation Garden, participated in an exclusive interview with ECM last week to give more details about the garden’s mission and the festival.  Listen to a recording of our interview with Ramos here: http://kiwi6.com/file/df12etpwb7.  For more details, scroll down.

The mission of the garden is to “educate Southern Californians about the beauty of drought tolerant landscaping. There’s a lot of opportunity to save water in the landscape,”  Ramos said. There’s still much to be done to save water outside.

This year, the festival will have some new entertainment. “Specifically from the garden, we have our Ms. Smarty-Plants, educational eco ambassador,” Ramos noted. “She’ll be presenting her new program called ‘Ms. Smarty-Plants Grows Earth Heroes’, where she inspires children to become earth heroes…whether that’s in conserving water, recycling trash, saving energy, defending wildlife.”  Children will received a commitment card at the end of her presentation, where they commit to being an earth hero, she added.

“Cuyamaca College has its biggest plant sale of the year, and they’ve got lots of edibles. They do these big salad bowls, where people can plant lettuce and tomatoes. So, we always encourage people to get here early,” Ramos advised.  “On stage, we’ve got the San Diego Women’s Drum Circle coming out [and] an indigenous musician from Zacatecas, Mexico that makes his own instruments and does nature-inspired music. We’ve got lots of lectures and presenters on how to create the water-wise garden of your dreams.” Also, Grossmont College’s jazz combo will play Afro-Cuban music. “

Festival organizers found local community experts on chickens, beekeeping, and vegetable gardening. For example, Holly Berkley will talk about the book she wrote, Mommy, Me, and My Chickens.’

“She and her son will talk about the journey together, raising egg laying hens in their urban backyard and teach people how they too can raise chickens in their own backyard. Then she’ll sign her books as well,” Ramos said.

Native plant specialist Greg Rubin is also coming out. He’s a San Diegan and a former engineer, who has become a native plant specialist and landscape designer. He’s also got a new book on native plants and he’ll be talking about how people can create drought tolerant landscapes with beautiful native plants, as well as signing his book.

In addition, Ramos said, “We have a guy that’ll teach people how to make cheese using goat’s milk.”

This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Urban Farms and Gardens.’

For more information, visit: http://www.thegarden.org/springfest/.

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