Grow Appalachia is more than families growing food in Floyd County. It is a bridge. Let me explain. Last spring, when it was still too cold to start planting, several of us got together to talk about growing stuff. Food, community, the economy. You name it we talked about it. But then we did something unusual, we acted.

Sr. Kathleen of St. Vincent Mission invited about 60 community leaders to come together and dream. Building on the success of the Grow Appalachia program at the Mission, she convinced them that agriculture in eastern Kentucky could be about more than growing a few tomatoes in a bucket out back of the kitchen. It could stimulate our economy. As our friend, Todd Howard says, “Before coal, we were farmers.”

A year later with the help of Community Farm Alliance, the grassroots coalition that formed from that vision planning session, Appalachian Roots, is in the midst of a local foods assessment. When finished we will have the footprint of Floyd County’s Food System and then…well you will just have to keep looking at the blog to find out.

Throughout this year, in with all the updates on our family and community gardens, I will keep you updated on the progress of Floyd County’s journey to becoming eastern Kentucky’s Local Food Center.

Local Food Factoid: Americans consume about 400 gallons of oil a year per person for food production. If we all ate just one meal a day of locally and organically grown meats and produce we would save over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. (from Oily Food, by Steven L. Hopp, a sidebar in Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)