Second Series of Homesteading Classes offered at CCE

Are you interested in becoming more self-sufficient? Do you want to learn new skills? Due to the popularity of the first round of homesteading classes, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County announced a second series of beginning homesteading classes that will run on Thursday evenings at 6 p.m.

The fun series of do-it-yourself classes will help get you started on the path to becoming more self-sufficient. Take one class or all 9! All class supplies are included with the class fee unless otherwise noted. You MUST preregister and pre-pay for each class and class sizes are limited. Contact Amanda for more information at 433-8839 ext. 231 or by email

Homesteading workshops

August 25 – Culinary Herbs

September 8 – Seed Saving

September 15 – Log Cabin Quilting

September 22 – Wonderful Weaving 102

September 27, 28, 29 – Master Food Preserver Training

October 6 – Growing garlic for Home Gardeners

October 20 – Fermenting Vegetables

November 17 – The Art of Herbology: Lip Saver for Cold Winter Weather

December 1 – Meat the Farmer

Culinary Herbs- $15

Bonnie will lead you through the fascinating world of culinary herbs. Learn about the many uses of herbs and how to preserve them for later use. Sample some herb butters.

Seed Saving – $15

Learn how to save seeds from your favorite heirloom and open pollinated plants, determine when to gather them and create seed saver envelopes to organize your seeds for the next growing season.

Log Cabin Quilting – $20

Creating a log cabin quilt is fun and easy. This class is designed for beginning quilters but experienced quilters are also welcome to join in the fun! You will leave the class with at least one finished quilt block and the confidence to quilt more on your own. There are a limited number of sewing machines available for use during the class, you are encouraged to bring your own. Materials will not be provided for this class. A required materials list will be provided upon registration.

Wonderful Weaving – $25

Learn how to make a beautiful basket! Jen will guide you through the basics of weaving. All materials are included in the class price.

Master Food Preserver Training $375

For those of you who want to take the next step in food preservation, the Master Food Preserver Training is for you. This course will be taught by Expert Master Food Preservers, Judy Price, Katherine Humphrey and Diane Whitten. This training program includes the scientific basis of home food preservation. You will get hands-on experience in boiling water and pressure canning, making jams and jellies, picking and fermentation. There will be demonstrations in freezing and drying and discussion of other methods of preservation. Certificates of participation will be distributed for those who complete the course. For those who want to become a Certified CCE Master Food Preserver and volunteer to teach at CCE, additional requirements must be met to earn the CCE Master Food Preserver Certificate. The Master Food Preserver Training will start at 8:30am and run to 4:30pm, September 27, 28, and 29, 2016. All class materials will be provided. Lunch each day is also included.

Growing garlic for home gardeners – $15

Growing your own food is a fun and rewarding experience. John will walk you through the basics of growing your own garlic at home.

Fermenting at Home – $25

Making your own sauerkraut couldn’t be easier!  Come learn all about fermenting with Jen, our Master Food Preserver-in training.  We will be tasting some fermented foods, and each participant will get to take some sauerkraut with them to ferment at home.

The Art of Herbology: Lip Saver for Cold Winter Weather – $25

It is unbelievable how easy, fun, and inexpensive it is to create your own Lip Balm.  Each participant will learn the process of extracting the properties of herbs in oil and how to use this as a foundation for creating their own Lip Balm. You will leave the class with finished products to share as holiday gifts for friends and family. This course will be approximately 60 min. long.

Meat the Farmer – $15

More and more people are interested in purchasing meat directly from a farmer, but the whole process can be confusing. This workshop will help you explore this topic in order to make responsible meat purchases and will include a panel discussion with local meat producers. Enjoy a taste of local meat along with local wines throughout the evening.

The WNY Home Wine Competition Seeks Entries!

Cornell Cooperative Extension announced plans to host the Western New York Home Wine Competition at the Niagara County Fair, Aug. 5th-6th. The competition is open to all amateur wine makers, 21 years and older, who are residents of New York State or Southern Ontario.

Entries for the wine competition can be dropped off or mailed to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, starting July 25 to Aug. 4, 2016. Entries must include an entry form and a $10 entry fee per bottle entered.

Private judging will take place on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. Awards and prizes will be given on Saturday, August 6th at 11:00 a.m. on stage at the fairgrounds. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded for wines in the following categories:

Vinifera — white              Hybrid – white                  Native – white                  Tree Fruit

Vinifera – red                    Hybrid – red                       Native – red                       Berry Fruit

Vinifera – rose                  Hybrid – rose                     Native – rose                     Specialty

A wine label contest will also be added to the WNY Home Wine Competition. This competition is open to any amateur label designer, who is resident of New York State or Southern Ontario. Entries for the wine label contest can be dropped off or mailed to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County starting June 20th to Aug. 4th, 2016. Entries must be submitted by July 22, 2016 to be eligible for “The People’s Choice” award. Entries must include an entry form and $10 entry fee per label entered. Private judging will take place on Friday, Aug. 5th, 2016. Awards and prizes will be given on Saturday, Aug. 6th at 11:00 a.m. on the small stage. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded for labels in the following categories:

·         Colors – bright, exciting, eye catching ·         Scenic – landscape, picture, representation, sketch, etc.
·         Animals or birds ·         People’s Choice
·         Flowers, plants, trees, grapes, etc. ·         Bottles that are etched, silk screened, sand blasted or hand painted
·         Humor – funny, whimsical, amusing, comical  

For Questions about contest rules and entry forms please call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County (716) 433-8839. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094.

Download wine entry forms here.

Download wine label entry forms here.




Enter our Street-Art Mural Competition for the Niagara County Fair!

Cornell Cooperative Extension will be hosting a Street-Art Mural Competition on Thursday, August 4th at the 2016 Niagara County Fair. The competition will give young artists the opportunity to showcase their artistry and technique of street-art, competing against one another to win a $100 cash prize and free daily admission passes to the fair.

Participating artists will be judged on their lettering, concept, color and originality while also incorporating the fair theme of “Once Upon a Time in Niagara: the Fairytale” into their vibrant art. The outdoor event will be open to fairgoers to who want to watch the competition.

Artists between the ages 13-21 must submit a sample of their artwork (any style) to CCE staff by Friday, July 8th to be considered for the Graffiti Contest. Sample artwork may be submitted in person at the CCE administration building, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, NY 14094, or mailed to that address to the “Attention of Marc Ducharme”. Submissions can also be scanned and emailed to Marc at For complete contest rules and entry guidelines, visit

The 2016 Niagara County Fair will run Aug. 3rd-7th at 4487 Lake Ave, Lockport, NY. The fair is organized and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. 2016 Fair sponsors include Niagara’s Choice Credit Union, WKBW and Cornerstone CFCU.

For rules and guidelines, click here.

New Mobile Gardening Program to Launch in the City of Niagara Falls

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is pleased announce the May 26th launch of Grow on the Go, a mobile garden project based in Niagara Falls. The program will help Niagara Falls residents grow fruits and vegetables in an urban environment where there can be many challenges in maintaining a successful garden including apartment living with no greenspace, rental homes with limitations on yard space, lack of sunlight, lack of equipment, lack of previous experience or knowledge of gardening.

“Grow on the Go breaks down some of those barriers and helps get fresh produce onto the plates of our neighbors,” said CCE-Niagara County Lead Nutritionist Justine Hays. “Having access is the first step to increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. We are really happy to offer this program and hope it makes a difference for Niagara Falls residents.”

“Grow on the Go” is based off the North Coast Food Web mobile gardens concept, using abandoned shopping carts as gardens. The shopping carts will be repurposed and filled with weed block liner, soil, and plants.  The program allows one shopping cart per household, giving individuals and families their own “greenspace”.  Using shopping carts allows the garden to be wheeled into buildings, onto elevators, and into apartments. If sunlight in an apartment is an issue, the cart owner can take their garden for a walk to give the garden the sunlight it needs to grow. The carts will be distributed to participants at the Niagara Falls Public Library.

Read more here.

USDA Launches First-Ever Local Foods Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey as part of its continued support of local and regional food systems. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting this first-time survey to produce official benchmark data on the local food sector in the United States.

“USDA launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative in 2009 to support the growing demand for local and regional food systems, and local food has been part of Federal, state, and local government policy discussions as consumer interest and demand has grown,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The information NASS collects in this survey is vital to providing data to understand the benefits of local and regional food systems.”

The Local Food Marketing Practices Survey will ask producers for information on their production and local marketing of foods during the 2015 calendar year. Information includes the value of food sales by marketing channel (i.e. farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) arrangements, restaurants, roadside stands, food hubs, and more), value of crop and livestock sales, marketing practices, expenses, Federal farm program participation, and more.

Read more here.

Logo Contest for the 2016 Niagara County Fair is Now Open

If you like happily ever after’s, you’re going to love Niagara County Fair’s 2016 logo contest. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Niagara County announced the 2016 Niagara County Fair Logo Contest is now open for youth ages 5 to 19, which will correspond with this year’s theme, “Once Upon a Time in Niagara — the Fairytale”.

A fairytale is a story about magical and imaginary beings and lands, and young artists should use their “special powers” to design a creative logo that ties in to the theme, which will be used for official Niagara County Fair merchandise and promotional materials.

The logo must be an original, colorful piece of artwork, which can be either hand-drawn or computer generated. There should be no words on the artwork, and it also must be able to be cleanly scanned and reproduced digitally at both larger and smaller sizes. Logo submissions are due at the CCE office located at 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport NY by Monday, April 18th, 2016 at 4:00 p.m.

The top submissions will be put to a community vote on Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County’s Facebook page to decide the first, second and third place winners. The top logos will receive prizes with the first place logo winning a $100 cash prize, two tickets to the Farm-City Breakfast (The Fairs opening event held Aug. 3rd), and two weekly fair passes. The 2016 Niagara County Fair runs Wednesday Aug. 3rd to Sunday Aug. 7th.

Click here for official rules. Contact Marc at for questions.

Homesteading Classes to be Offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension

If you’re interested in sustainability, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County is putting on a program just for you. CCE is offering a series of ten beginning homesteading classes that will run every other Thursday starting March 31st until July 28th at 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport NY.

The series of hands-on classes are great for those with limited experience regarding homesteading but want to gain more knowledge and become more self-sufficient. Take one class or all ten! You MUST pre-register for each class. Class size is limited.

Contact Amanda for more information. 716-433-8839 x231 or

Read more here.




Eat Smart New York to Host Kickoff Event in Honor of National Nutrition Month

Eat Smart New York is pleased to announce it is hosting a kickoff event for National Nutrition Month on Tuesday, March 1st from 2:30p.m.-5p.m. at the Earl W. Brydges Public Library in Niagara Falls. The event will take place on the second floor of the library, with some activities in the auditorium.

National Nutrition Month, which runs through March, focuses on healthful eating as part of everyday life. This year’s theme, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”, spotlights healthful cooking techniques to lower fat and sodium intake and increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

“Everyone eats! We just want to let people know that there are really simple, affordable, and delicious ways to eat healthfully,” said Eat Smart New York nutritionist Justine Hays.  She added, “We have been in the community for quite some time, attending events or hosting workshops about healthy eating. We are really excited to be able to host a fun event that brings our community together.”

The Earl W. Brydges library is located at 1425 Main St., Niagara Falls NY. For more information on our National Nutrition Month celebration or how to host or attend a workshop call 716-299-0905 ext. 287.


Vegetable and Small Fruit Grower Meeting


The Cornell Cooperative Extension Cornell Vegetable Program and Lake Ontario Fruit Program are hosting a grower meeting on March 1st, 2016 at the 4-H Training Center, located at 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, NY 14094.

The morning vegetable program will include presentations by the Cornell Vegetable Program (CVP) specialists Darcy Telenko, Robert Hadad, and Judson Reid. Research updates will be presented on sweet corn pest management, living mulch, and the final ruling of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – what it means for your farm planning, training, and timelines. In addition, Dr. Chris Smart, Plant Pathology Section at Cornell University, will give an update on major vegetable diseases and their management.

The afternoon small fruit program will include presentations from Drs. Kerik Cox, Courtney Weber, Marvin Pritts and Greg Loeb from Cornell University. Small fruit topics include identifying and managing diseases in berry crops, strawberry variety update, using soil health information as a tool to address berry nutrition, the top three insect pests for strawberry, raspberry, and blueberries, and review of blueberry pruning.

Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm and available for attendees at either vegetable or fruit session. During lunch we will lead a discussion about research priorities and needs, introduce the new Western New York Soil Health Alliance, and have updates from industry.

The cost to attend is $20 for CCE Enrollees and $35 for all others. CCA and DEC credits will be available for each portion – but you must attend the entire vegetable or fruit session for credit (vegetable session 2.0 credits 1A, 10, 21, & 23; fruit session 1.5 credits 1A & 22).

To register please contact Darcy Telenko by email: or phone: 716-652-5400 x1778.  You can also register online at:

16 Bugs Gardeners Should Love

1. Ladybug

2. Dragonfly or damselfly

3. Spider

4. Ground beetle

5. Hover fly

6. Green lacewing

7.  Bumblebee

8.  Paper wasp

9.  Butterfly

10.  Honeybee

11.  Beneficial nematode

12.  Earthworm

13.  Centipedes and millipedes

14.  Praying mantis

15.  Assassin bug

16.  Firefly (or lightning bug or lightning beetle)