Homesteading Conference set for March 31-April 1

The South Arkansas Homesteading Conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1, at the Pioneer Village, 200 Yaney Street in Rison.

ELVIN BATES: 98-year-old Elvin Bates of Monticello will be speaking on Hermitage Beekeeping. He has been keeping bees for 90 years and still maintains about 150 hives.
ELVIN BATES: 98-year-old Elvin Bates of Monticello will speak about Hermitage Beekeeping. He has been keeping bees for 90 years and still maintains about 150 hives.

Speakers from across Arkansas will be doing educational presentations and demonstrations on topics that relate to developing a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle. Topic sessions include gardening, beekeeping, heritage poultry, cheese making, herbs and herbal remedies, homesteading tools, aquaponics and more.

blacksmith
BLACKSMITHING: Local blacksmiths will demonstrate their skills throughout the day on Saturday.

Britt Talent, conference organizer, said the sessions are developed with versatility and practicality in mind. “We like to focus on things that can be practiced in a suburban or rural setting for little to no cost,” he said.

Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday, March 31, with the first session beginning at 1 p.m. Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 1, with the two session tracks beginning at 9 a.m.

Daily admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 7-17) and free for those 6 and under. A two-day pass is $15 for adults and $7 for youth.

In addition to the sessions, the Pioneer Village and the Rison Community Garden will be open for tours. The Pioneer Village is a collection of local buildings that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.

HOOP HOUSE: This 18x30 high tunnel/hoop house is part of the Rison Community Garden where the conference is held. It was built using a plan that calls for only about $500 in materials.
HOOP HOUSE: This 18×30 high tunnel/hoop house is part of the Rison Community Garden where the conference is held. It was built using a plan that calls for about $500 in materials.

The Rison Community Garden consists of 27 raised beds, an 18 feet by 30 feet do-it-yourself high tunnel/hoop house, a compost corral and a “chicken tractor” built from an old swing set. The garden itself was developed as a training grounds to teach people how to grow their own food more efficiently in a small space.

PA MAC: Gary "Pa Mac" McWilliams of Caddo Gap, Ark., will be demonstrating homesteading tools.
PA MAC: Gary “Pa Mac” McWilliams of Caddo Gap will demonstrate homesteading tools.
BUTTER TASTING: There will be youth activities as well. Here, youth sample some of the homemade butter they made during the conference.
BUTTER TASTING: There will be youth activities as well. Here, youth sample some of the homemade butter they made during the conference.

There will also be a variety of ongoing demonstrations on Saturday including blacksmithing, needle arts (sewing, knitting, quilting), 19th century woodworking skills, Dutch Oven cooking and more. There will also be exhibits and live animals on display, including heritage poultry and miniature donkeys.

For more information, go to arkansashomesteader.com or like the “Arkansas Homesteading Conference” page on Facebook. Conference organizer Britt Talent can be reached at (870) 325-6412.

 

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