The fourth annual South Arkansas Homesteading Conference will be held at the Pioneer Village at Rison.


Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday, March 31, with the first session beginning at 1 p.m.; and at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 1, with the two session events beginning at 9 a.m.


Speakers from across Arkansas will be conducting educational presentations and demonstrations on topics that relate to developing a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle, according to a news release.


Topic sessions include gardening, beekeeping, heritage poultry, cheese making, herbs and herbal remedies, homesteading tools and aquaponics.


The Cleveland County Herald at Rison is hosting the conference, according to Britt Talent, editor/publisher of the newspaper and conference organizer.


The sessions are developed with versatility and practicality in mind, he said.


“We like to focus on things that can be practiced in a suburban or rural setting for little to no cost,” he said.


In additional to the sessions, the Pioneer Village and the Rison Community Garden will be open for tours. The Pioneer Village is a collection of local buildings that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.


The Rison Community Garden consists of 27 raised beds, an 18 feet by 30 feet do-it-yourself high tunnel/hoop house, a compost corral and a “chicken tractor” built from an old swing set. The garden itself was developed as training grounds to teach people how to grow their own food more efficiently in a small space.


There will also be a variety of ongoing demonstrations on Saturday including blacksmithing, needle arts (sewing, knitting, quilting), 19th century woodworking skills and Dutch Oven cooking. There will also be exhibits and live animals on display, including heritage poultry and miniature donkeys.


Daily admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 7-17) and free for those 6 and under. A two-day pass is $15 for adults and $7 for youth.


Details: www.arkansashomesteader.com, “Arkansas Homesteading Conference” page on Facebook or Britt Talent at 870-325-6412.