An ecosystem is a community of living organisms, like plants and animals, and the environment in which they live including the air, water and soil. This symbiotic relationship is the essence of an annual Livingston event — the Pick and Gather at Riverdance Farms and Merced River Fair.
This annual event gives Valley residents and visitors the chance to get out on the farm and learn about the local ecosystem. There will be workshops throughout the two-day event, set for May 30 and 31, and hands-on activities for kids and adults including the proper way to plant seeds, minnow races at the river, corn grinding and fish prints.
For Cindy Lashbrook of Riverdance Farms, the annual event is an opportunity to educate about organic farming.
"It's how you can farm with nature; supporting local farms and farmers, especially organic farms and why local, sustainably grown food is good for the environment," she said.
The event will also celebrate the area’s two State Parks on the Merced River. McConnell State Recreation Area is across the river from the farm and festival. George J. Hatfield is further west, just as the Merced River joins the San Joaquin River.
To get a better look at the river, kayak excursions will be offered one each day. The trips are three hour guided tours down the Merced River that end back at the festival.
Along with farm and river events, the festival will also feature storytelling, local artisans, live music, children’s activities and an organic breakfast. Overnight camping will be available at the farm on May 30.
The food offered at the festival will all be from local sources, many organic growers and mostly healthy.
“It’s not your typical fair food,” said Lashbrook.
In an effort to promote ecosystem education, students who bring a science fair project on farming, nature, gardening, biology or water systems to share with the public, can gain free entry. Interested students should contact Lashbrook at Riverdance Farms to reserve space for their project.IF YOU'RE GOINGWhat:
Pick and Gather at Riverdance Farms and Merced River FairWhen:
10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 30; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 31Where:
Riverdance Farms, 12230 Livingston Cressey Rd., LivingstonAdmission:
May 30: $10 adults, $5 kids / students 3-20 and seniors 65+; May 31: $5 adults, $2 kids/students/seniorsInformation:
Call Riverdance Farms at 761-0081 or visit riverdancefarms.com; Merced River Fair Kayak Trips, visit sanjoaquinriver.org/events