Grow Appalachia offers summer position

Grow Appalachia is looking for someone to help community gardens in Pocahontas County this summer. Erica Marks is the coordinator for the project operated through High Rocks Educational Corporation in Hillsboro.

“We’re looking for a minimum time AmeriCorps member to serve this summer with the Grow Appalachia team. This would be primarily working with people in our community and growing as much food as possible, so it should be somebody who loves to be outdoors and meet people and who has a passion for gardening.”

The volunteer would serve 300 hours over the course of eleven weeks, which works out to be about twenty seven hours a week.

“There’s a living stipend through AmeriCorps that’s $900, and there’s also an education award that you get at the end of satisfactory service, which is $1,127. And that’s something that you can use for college expenses, any sort of educational expenses, paying off loans.”

According to the website, Grow Appalachia has supported thousands of gardens through hundreds of community partnerships in five states; from backyard gardens to community gardens […], greenhouses to mini-farms; producing more than 1,151,000 pounds of healthy, organic food for thousands of people in its first four years. Last summer, Grow Appalachia had an intern working at High Rocks.

“It was just really nice to bring someone into the community who just could do a lot of the leg work, and we had a bigger impact and grew a lot more food as a result of our intern last year. And so this position I’m hoping will have a similar effect, that we can just get a lot more people interested and growing a lot more produce organically.

“I guess a typical day you’d get into the High Rocks truck and maybe load up the tiller and go out and visit a garden that needs a little extra tilling for the season, or you could go visit someone who wanted some help staking their tomatoes or planting their corn, and just kind of be a friendly helpful presence in various people’s gardens. We have members who could just use a little extra help to grow things, and that’s why their part of the program.”

Marks has served as the site coordinator for several years.

“I think my family has eaten better. We’ve just grown more food, and I just feel like that’s such a key quality of life issue, is to have fresh healthy food available, and to be able to bring that to the community is a really rewarding part of my job.”

If you’re interested in applying for a summer AmeriCorps position with Grow Appalachia, you can contact Erica Marks at High Rocks at 304-653-4891 or by emailing her at They would like someone to start June 1st, so applications should be in as soon as possible.

“We have some growers who are really experienced and know so much, and others who are just hungry to learn, and so whoever has this position I think will learn a lot and will also provide just a great service for the people in our area.”

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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