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Grow Appalachia Program in Pocahontas County -Gearing up

It might be close to zero degrees outside, but High Rocks in Pocahontas County is already revving up its “Grow Appalachia” program. Marlyn McClendon of High Rocks tells us about the program.

“I am the assistant coordinator for the Grow Appalachia program at High Rocks” said Marlyn. “Grow Appalachia is a garden and food initiative program based out of Berea, Kentucky, which aims to help Appalachian families grow as much fresh, nutritious food as possible. High Rocks has been running this program in Pocahontas County for the past 6 years because we believe that healthy communities start with food.”

The program is already getting organized, as Marlyn describes.

Although it’s hard to imagine a lush green garden during the winter months, High Rock’s Grow Appalachia is already enrolling gardens for the 2016 garden season” Marlyn says. “Next week we will be meeting with these gardeners to order and make plans for starting tomatoes and peppers, These meetings are just one part of our dream to cultivate and strengthen a bigger community of growers here in Pocahontas County.

How, exactly, does the Grow Appalachia program work? Marlyn explains.

“With the help of Grow Appalachia, we are now able to support over 30 family and community gardens” says Marlyn. “The program also supports gardeners who want to move toward entrepreneurship and to take their produce to market. How do we do that? We do that by providing financial assistance with plants, seeds, hand tools and garden supplies. We offer technical assistance with garden maintenance, like tilling. We offer opportunities to learn and share with the community through an informative workshop series on organic gardening and food preservation.”

Marlyn discusses what is expected of the participants in the program.

“In order to receive the benefits of Grow Appalachia, there is a little bit of commitment involved as a participant” Marlyn says. “Participants of Grow Appalachia have to complete four things: They have to provide a garden plan and a soil test, and they have to attend six workshops and keep track of their harvest numbers. We try to make each of these requirements as easy as possible. In exchange, they get things like hand tools, help with tilling, organic seeds and seedlings, organic soil amendments and fertilizers, organic pesticides, fencing supplies, irrigation equipment and canning supplies, as well as knowledge from other gardeners.”

Marlin explains how you can sign up to be a participant in Grow Appalachia.

“Currently we are looking to support 30 gardens, beginner and beyond, to sign up for the 2016 growing season” Marlyn says. “If you or anyone you know are interested in applying to the High Rocks Grow Appalachia program please call High Rocks at 304-653-4891, email us at growappalachia@highrocks.org or visit our website at www.highrocks.org. The first Garden Planning workshop is on Thursday, January 21st at 6 p.m. at the Marlinton Middle School. This workshop is open to the public and required for participants in the program.”

So, tell your friends and let’s grow more vegetables in Pocahontas County.

 

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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