Grow Appalachia Provides Opportunity for Local Gardeners
Since 2011, the High Rocks Educational Corporation in Hillsboro has teamed up with Grow Appalachia to offer the Grow Appalachia program to local home and small entrepreneurial gardeners here in Pocahontas County. We talked with Liz Kammeyer, a AmeriCorps member who is assigned to High Rocks to help run the Grow Appalachia Program. Liz tells us what Grow Appalachia is all about..
“Grow Appalachia is a community gardening program that’s based out of Barea, Kentucky” Liz says. “It serves five or six states now in the Appalachian Region. It basically provides financial assistance to local gardeners who want to grow their own food, whether for their families, their friends, (or) that they want to sell them at market. We help them get tools, seeds, we give help tilling and in exchange, participants come to at least six workshops throughout the year where we offer information on garden planning, planting, fencing, irrigation, healthy cooking – all sorts of stuff. So it’s a really great way to get involved with growing your own food and you’re also being great community members while you’re doing it.”
Liz tells us more about the partnership between High Rocks and Grow Appalachia.
“Grow Appalachia works by having partner sites” Liz explains. “They’re based out of Barea (Kentucky), but throughout the region there are different partner sites who decide to join up with Grow Ap (Appalachia) so they can more directly work with the local communities. So High Rocks is an extension of Grow Ap as a partner site. Often times we’ll have workshops up here at the Lodge, but sometimes we’ll go to a participant’s garden to view hands on experience. So basically we’re like a little anchoring point here in the local community.”
What would somebody need to have to get started with this?
“Really you just need an interest in growing your own food, that’s the basic need” Liz answers. “You’ll need your own space to grow a garden, and that can be as small or as big as you want. Just a little, tiny plot in your back yard, that’s totally fine. If you have a lot of land you want to work on, we can help you with that too. We’re having workshops next week to help you get started on that, so that’s the first step, coming to one of the garden planning workshops.”
Liz shares more details about the workshops.
“Generally they’ll be about 2 hours or so, it depends on the topic” says Liz. “but these first ones where we are planning the garden – we’re making garden maps; thinking about what you want to grow; when you want to do it; how much stuff you want to grow – this will be about 2 hours or so. In the late summer we will have a healthy cooking workshop where we learn how to make healthy meals from the things you have grown over the season. And then towards the end of fall, we’ll have a season extension workshop. If you want to continue growing into the winter where typically weather conditions don’t permit growing, but learning how to use these extension tools to continue growing into the winter.”
Is there any cost?
“No, it’s free” Liz answers. “Generally everything you get from us will be free, but in case you have something that you want to have a whole bunch of, you may have to put in a little bit.”
Besides getting free stuff and good training, what else attracts gardeners to the program?
“Everybody who has been in it has had a lot of fun” Liz says. “You meet a lot of great people and how they are growing their gardens and get that sounding board of other people to bounce ideas off of and get different inspiration of how you want to grow your garden.”
The first free workshop is being offered on Monday January 23rd from 6-8 p.m. at the McClintic Library in Marlinton and again on Saturday January 28th from 2-4 p.m. also at the McClintic Library. Both days are the same workshop so you can choose either day. Call 304-653-4891 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know which session you will attend and what kind of garden you plan to grow. They will take it from there.