Along with every other site, we here at Pine Mountain have been busy finalizing our report for the 2011 Grow Appalachia year. Many of our participants expressed discouragement that this growing season proved extremely difficult and that many hardships cost them a large amount of their harvest. Numerous participants told of their corn being victim to raccoons, their potatoes eaten by moles, tomatoes infected with blight, and all around low yield on many crops. Despite the difficult season these families remained positive about the healthy plants they did have over the summer and the opportunity to start fresh again next spring. Though weather and animals may have greatly reduced the amount of produce harvested this year we were pleasantly surprised to find that Pine Mountain Grow Appalachia families grew and harvested over 723 bushels of food, weighing in at 28,200 pounds, during the 2011 growing season, more than twice as much as the 13,600 pounds recorded during 2010! We were also pleased to know that our Grow Appalachia families share their bounty of produce with an estimated total of 300 people, as well as several local nursing homes.
Once all the harvest records were compiled we had a great range of produce with everything from greens and lettuces, to squashes, melons and herbs.

 Here’s a small section of our final records:

Produce Type
Amount (in pecks)
1 peck
272.5 pecks
5.3 pecks
2.58 pecks
Butternut Squash
50.5 pecks
84.75 pecks
5 pecks
11 pecks
.75 pecks
264.5 pecks
315 pecks
.75 pecks
.7 pecks
1 peck
2 pecks
48.5 pecks
23 pecks

     With the money we didn’t spend during the season we are now offering our participants the option to order fruit trees and berry bushes. Many families ordered trees and bushes last year and are hoping to see them fruit within the next year or two. I got to meet one family who has reserved a space near their house that they call “the orchard”, in hopes that they will slowly be able to fill it with different kinds of fruit trees.  It is really exciting to expand into new areas of food production and to see the enthusiasm that our participants have for these ventures and the coming growing season.

As we look ahead and begin to plan for next year we are focusing on expanding our program to include more families and to extend our services to a larger area of the community. We hope to be able to offer diverse and useful workshops to the community and to recruit more local people who have a genuine interest in local food production in Southeastern Kentucky. One of our biggest challenges in the upcoming year will be the effort to grow for market and to find a profitable way to market our local produce to people outside of the program. Though it will require many hours of planning and brainstorming, I remain positive that we can come up with a way to get the ball rolling and really get the community excited about fresh local produce and Grow Appalachia.
The height of the 2011 gardening season

Congratulations to all the other sites on the completion of another year, we look forward to a new season and the opportunity to take Grow Appalachia to the next level in 2012!