By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Jessica Whiston, vice president of the Western Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society, knows people have plenty of questions about local foods, gardening and Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, ventures.
She wants to provide answers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at a local foods and farms event at the Quincy Mall, near JC Penney, featuring speakers and a demonstration by a local chef Michael Mitchell.
The WISAS sponsors the event to help area residents "just basically learn where your food comes from and also to have opportunities to connect with local farmers and to ask any questions if you're interested in doing any kind of farming or just learning about vegetable gardening," Whiston said.
Local vendors will have products to sell during the event, which for the first time also offers three speakers and the chef demonstration.
"We're trying to pull in the public a little more," Whiston said.
WISAS President Edwin Waters will speak at 10 a.m. on permaculture, a varying set of principles and location-dependent practices used by thousands of people and communities worldwide to care for land, care for people, enact justice and respect intrinsic value.
Whiston will highlight vegetable/CSA farming at 11 a.m.
"I'll basically just talk about my farm, how we started, what a CSA is, then take any questions people might have about vegetable gardening and what I do," Whiston said. "Most people don't know what a CSA is."
Deborah Lee will speak on herbs at noon followed by Mitchell's demonstration, using locally grown foods, at 1 p.m.
With spring approaching, Whiston said it's a good time to feature local foods and farms, because people are starting to think about gardening and farmers markets.