The first official day of winter is December 21st, and up until the last few days that seemed to be holding true here at Pine Mountain. We have had several days in the 60’s these past few weeks and though the nights are cold, it really just hadn’t truly felt like winter until Wednesday when the rain finally turned to snow for a short bit (I may be biased seeing as I am a Minnesota native). Maggie and I went out to check the lettuce in both of our gardens on Monday, and despite numerous frosts and lots of rain the lettuce that has been covered with row covers is still alive, looking well, and tasty to boot.
One of many takes of tree planting
Digging a hole for the blueberry bushes

        Several weeks ago we received our fall perennial order of fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines that we distributed to participants at the last Grow Appalachia meeting of the year. Over the past few weeks we have all been planting our trees and feeling thankful that we could work outside in short sleeves rather than trying to shovel snow and frozen soil to get our plants in the ground. During Thanksgiving week we even had the excitement of a film crew taping one of our participants plant her blueberries and serve Thanksgiving dinner. As I’m sure some of you already know John Paul Dejoria is being featured in a documentary film that will debut in February 2012. The movie, Choice Point, is about people who actively work towards change in their communities and throughout the world. The movie focuses on these “visionaries” who range from business men, to doctors, to famous athletes, and the work that they have done. The Choicepoint website describes these visionaries saying that “Through this movie  their voices offer a profound message of hope as a pattern emerges that empowers each of us to be the change- to make the choices that can not only transform ourselves, but also the world around us.” We were thrilled that the filmmakers wanted to come to Pine Mountain and hear about our program and we are hopeful that when the movie debuts it will shed a good light on Grow Appalachia as a whole!

Maggie and Valerie, who will both be in the documentary!
                In other news we have recently been in the process of deconstructing an old greenhouse in London to use for some of our Grow Appalachia participants in Harlan County. The greenhouse is a 25 X 60 foot high tunnel that was used at the old Mink’s Nursery. Because it is a large greenhouse we hope to separate it into several sections so that multiple families can have small greenhouses on their property to experiment with starting crops earlier in the season and growing throughout the winter. Had it not been for Wayne Riley, the Grow Appalachia coordinator for Laurel County African American Heritage Center, we would not have had this opportunity to get a relatively inexpensive greenhouse which will be a great asset to our program. Wayne not only let us know that the greenhouse was for sale, but he also helped us to deconstruct the entire frame and haul it back to Pine Mountain. After our first trip to check out the greenhouse Maggie and I talked about how great it was to be able to collaborate with other Grow Appalachia leaders and how much we would all benefit from knowing each other and communicating about our respective programs throughout the year. Hopefully sometime in the near future we can all get together and share the successes and challenges of Grow Appalachia!
I hope December is treating you all as well as it is us here at Pine Mountain
Check out the documentary here: