Area Happenings,  Bella Outdoors

Back to Basics: The Good Living School

With an ever growing focus on living more sustainably while reducing our consumption and waste an upcoming local event is offering instructionals on how to provide some basic needs right in our own backyards. The urgent call for global climate action leaves many of us asking, what can we do to lessen our impact on Mother Earth?

The Good Living School is a day long schedule of unique, hands-on classes including spring gardening, urban-homesteading, zero waste and sustainability classes, demos and workshops. This FUN and climate friendly schedule will be part of The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair and Gardening Primer event in downtown Roanoke on April 27th from 9am-5pm; an annual indoor/outdoor street festival, now in it’s 3rd year and the brainchild of Good Times Event Co. 

Highlight’s from this year’s Good Living School include:

Finding Morel Mushrooms  —Learn some cool facts and get the skinny on finding some of the most elusive delicacies our region has to offer, Morel Mushrooms! Join our local life-long mushroom hunter, Dave Tate as he introduces attendees to the basics of Morel mushroom hunting here in Virginia. Dave has hunted Morels since his Michigan childhood and is eager to share his experiences, as they relate to Virginia. Class is $5. 

Chickens in the City  —  Get the scratch on raising a small flock in the city! Learn about chicken breeds, preparing to bring them home, how to acquire chicks/hens, housing/pens, feed, city/county regulations, and basic care in a fun and informative class taught by local farmer, Tina Badger, owner of Willowbriar Farm in Montgomery County.  This class is $20 and will include informational handouts and an informative book on raising chickens for each participant to take home! 

Nature Amnesia and Urban Trees in America  —  If a child does not play in a forest with their parents, will either of them notice when it is gone? Urban trees can bridge the gap between a rapidly urbanized and digitized society and the natural world. One tree can make a difference and the urban forest may reverse the amnesia. As the landscape around us changes and generations of Americans become further disconnected with the natural world, generational amnesia can develop in American societythat can change collective expectations of natural resource management. Taught by Jamie King of Trees Roanoke. (Special Note: Look for the Bartlett Tree Experts booth where local tree professional Jonathan Irvine will be handing out over 500 tree seedlings for FREE. Take a tree home and plant it your yard!)

Simple Ways with Common Weeds  —  This fun, interactive class will introduce you to several useful plants (aka herbs) that grow all around us. Meet your green allies: Plantain, violet, dandelion, nettle, chickweed, sorrell, dock, clover, motherwort, lemon balm, mullein, ground ivy, comfrey, yarrow, lambsquarters, chicory, burdock!  Learn simple, safe ways to access and preserve the benefits of our green allies. Sample nourishing herbal infusions and take home a spring weed vinegar and ideas for how to use it. Identifying useful plants; safe places to gather; the meaning of “ethical wildcrafting,” and encouraging the useful plants to grow near you. Yummy ways to eat your weeds: infusions and decoctions, syrups or honey, pestos and butters, herbal vinegars and vodka tinctures.Topical uses for common weeds: poultices, infused oils and salves, herbal soaks and baths. Taught by Nancy Maurelli of Sister Nettle B&B. 

Mulch Matters  —  Turns out there is much to learn about mulch! Mulch Matters is an introductory class on residential mulching. What are the benefits of mulching beds? How and when to properly install mulch!  What are the do’s and don’ts of mulching? Attendees wil also llearn the properties of mulch including specific types, uses, and how the it’s made! Taught by Bess Platt of One Earth Landscapes, Mulch and Nursery!  

In addition to the Good Living School, The Early Bird event will also include over 50 vendors, small farm animal education, free tree seedlings, seeds and free interactive activities for kids. Also, local foods and beverages, food trucks, healthy cooking demos, classes and tastings. Entry to The Early Bird is FREE and family friendly, some of the classes at the Good Living School will require RSVP’s and/or small fees. RSVP for these classes and more at

Beth Deel is a local mom, artist and fun-maker! She plans socially responsible events at Good Times Event Co. and strives to reduce her personal environmental impact at home and at work, through planet-friendly lifestyle changes, environmental activism and zero waste goals.