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Story and Photos by Allison Jarrell

The third annual Eco Garden Expo, presented by local nonprofit Goin Native Therapeutic Gardens, will take place April 23-24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Los Rios Park, located in downtown San Juan Capistrano. The event is free and open to the public.

More than 60 exhibitors will be at this year’s expo, ranging from vertical urban gardening and kombucha brewing, to artisan crafts and organic produce. A variety of hands-on workshops and guest speakers will offer attendees a chance to put what they’ve learned into practice.

The event kicks off on April 23 with special keynote speaker John Kabashima, Environmental Horticulture Adviser Emeritus at the University of California Cooperative Extension. In 1987, Kabashima became a UC environmental horticulture adviser in Orange and Los Angeles counties, and in 1998, he began leading the UC Master Gardener Program in Orange County, training more than 300 master gardeners.

Goin Native founder and executive director Marianne Taylor is a 25-year resident of the Los Rios Historic District, specializing in garden education, dirt therapy and community volunteerism.

Taylor is an ardent advocate for native landscaping, especially when it comes to educating residents on utilizing drought-tolerant native plants. Today, Taylor’s nonprofit continues to educate the community with programs such as the Los Rios Garden Angels volunteer group, the Capistrano Unified School District Adult Transition Workability program, the master gardener program at Reata Park, hands-on cooking and gardening classes with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley, and an array of workshops at Goin Native’s headquarters on Los Rios Street.

Los Rios Park is located at 26436 Paseo Adelanto. Parking for the Eco Garden Expo can be found throughout the downtown area, including the Ramos Street parking lot, the Verdugo Street parking structure and along Camino Capistrano.

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