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Williamston Homestead Festival

Williamston, South Carolina Homestead FestivalAttended the Williamston Homestead Festival last weekend.  It was a free, family friendly event held at Mineral Spring Park in downtown Williamston.  Celebrating a lifestyle of self sufficiency, the festival offered classes, vendors and a seed swap table.  Homesteading can be characterized by agriculture, textiles, clothing, or craft work.  I wanted to learn more about sustainable plants and crops.

Useful Plant Nursery

Chuck Marsh at the Williamston Homestead FestivalChuck Marsh, Permaculture designer, of Useful Plant Nursery provided a very informative presentation of plants that provide benefits beyond looking pretty in your landscape.  Many plants have medicinal benefits that nature has provided since our Indian, original homesteaders, lived off the land. Marsh explained his concern for the lack of teaching our youth proper horticulture skills.  Marsh recommends every landscape plant to meet three benefits before you consider planting; food benefit, shade and pollination.  If these three criteria are met, the plant would be a perfect homestead investment.  Some plants he recommends are the following:

The berries of elder (Sambucus nigra). Photographed near Low Bradfield in South Yorkshire. Elderberry bush is good for preventing colds and flue. You can mix the leaves with chicken feed to protect from bird flue.
PawPaw plant
PawPaw fruit, native to South Carolina has cancer remedy qualities similar to chemotherapy.
Gooseberry Plant
Gooseberries contain flavones & anthocyanins, which have numerous health-benefiting effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.










Although illegal in North Carolina, currants are legal in South Carolina. Loaded in fiber & can aid in digestive problems.
Rabbiteye Blueberry
Rabbiteye Blueberries can live to be 75 years old. The berries can slow brain aging & improve balance.
Mullberry Bush
Mulberry leaf tea can help fight diabetes. Helps the body carbs, instead of the body absorbing them.








Visitors can tour the Useful Plant Nursery by appointment.  They provide edible landscape plants, as well as design services.  Chuck is very knowledgeable and can offer advice for a new homesteader.

Early Bird Farms

Homesteader and proprietor of EarlyBird Farms,, Paul Coleman provided first hand experience at growing mushrooms.  His farm has three cultivated acres of gardens, a greenhouse, worm farm, aquaculture, rabbits and mushrooms.  He presented two options for growing mushrooms, in logs verses straw.

Paul from Earlybird Farms at the Williamston Homestead Festival
Paul Coleman of EarlyBird Farms holds a straw cultivation of mushrooms.
Equipment for growing mushrooms
Equipment used at EarlyBird Farms’ for mushrooms

If growing brown oyster mushrooms in straw bags, Paul says a 10 lb weight bag, should yield 7 lbs of mushrooms, if properly planted.

Keep mushrooms warm and moist for ideal growing conditions.


Attendees were allowed to make their own mushroom straw bag to take home.

The Homestead Festival was made possible by these sponsors:
South Carolina Organization for Organic Living
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Edible Upcountry
Earthskills Wilderness Self-Reliance School
Earthwise Learning Center

If you are interested in Homesteading or nature – you should check these out.

I highly recommend this book on homesteading.  Not only does it cover harvesting, handling and cooking items from your garden, but also, explains food preservation, such as canning, freezing and pickling your crops.











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