Thomas Jefferson championed vegetable cuisine, plant experimentation, and sustainable agriculture. The 8th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival, hosted by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in partnership with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, celebrates Jefferson’s legacy in a fun, affordable, family-oriented, educational event promoting gardening, sustainability, local food and the preservation of heritage plants.
The 2014 Heritage Harvest Festival will be held on Saturday, September 13, at Monticello: on the West Lawn, in the vegetable garden, and in the LEED-certified Visitor Center. The venue provides a beautiful showcase for the restored gardens, and features the wealth of Monticello’s programs in not just gardening, but also natural history, foodways, and the roles of the entire plantation community. There will be additional premium programming and a special Mountaintop Tasting on the festival preview day, Friday, September 12. The Grand Preview Dinner and Evening will be held on Friday evening.
Participants will continue to enjoy the traditional tastings, workshops, hands-on demonstrations, interpretive walks, and a variety of garden tours and exhibits. Experts, including Master Gardeners, come from around the country to share knowledge and volunteer their time to run the festival. Local food, sustainable farming, and a heightened interest in the flavor and diversity of traditional fruits and vegetables have captured the imagination of gardeners and consumers throughout the United States. The Festival addresses this trend with tasting workshops, lectures, and seed-saving demonstrations, as well as a Marketplace with displays and sales of fruits and vegetables, food and plants. Cooking demonstrations by some of Charlottesville’s most revered chefs will be another popular component of the Festival.
At the heart of the Heritage Harvest Festival are educational programs on seed-saving, botanical medicine, heirloom varieties, sustainable agriculture, compost production, organic gardening, integrated pest management, edible landscaping, regional cookery, and other aspects of sustainable living. Monticello’s Visitor Center will provide an ideal setting for more formal “premium” lectures and workshops. Interpretive tours of the restored Monticello garden, plus specialty tours on seed-saving, natural history, and native plants, will take place every hour. Monticello’s restored kitchen will also come alive with cooking programs highlighting the Jefferson and African-American legacy in food.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and organizations such as the Piedmont Environmental Council collaborate to offer festival goers samples in the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” tasting tent. These exhibits provide a focal point for festival participants to meet farmers, educators, and non-profits at the center of the local food movement. The Master Gardener Tent will also include a full day of programming, in addition to popular demonstrations, exhibits, and activities for children. Food vendors will offer a full range of delicious meals and snacks, from doughnuts to barbecue to crepes.
The Heritage Harvest Festival is a grassroots, volunteer-oriented event with serious educational goals. Please join us for a meaningful and fun day celebrating sustainable living and the good things that come from the earth.