Cowan Community Center partnering with Grow Appalachia has brought enthusiasm and activity back to the community. The center has an exciting project in the works that will be partnering with several of our Grow Appalachia participants. This project hopes to further the cause of gardening and illustrate the important role gardening had and still has in our community. A team of community members attended the Brushy Fork Institute in Berea this fall and a seed was planted. The group spent their time studying with the Swamp Gravy Theater and learned of their success and best practices in starting a community theater. The community center now has a dedicated team working to make that happen at Cowan. The Community Center was fortunate to receive a $10,000 grant as a result of attendance and efforts at the Brushy Fork Institute to begin the process. Team members had the opportunity to travel to Colquitt, Georgia in February to attend workshops and see firsthand Swamp Gravy’s success in their small town. Our first play is in it’s early stages and will be developed from a collection of stories about How Appalachia Grew. A major emphasis on the story collection is in reference to farming in Letcher County. Whether it a be a young bride, overwhelmed by the vast number of green beans she was now responsible for canning or a young girl hoeing corn for ten cents a day and later being able to buy that land before she died. The stories show the bond that gardens were for families, uniting families with all having a designated purpose in the gardens which sustained these Appalachian families for decades. Angelyn DeBord, playwright and artist is meeting with members of the community to gather their stories and then work her magic into writing a play, in which community members will perform. The play is scheduled to be performed at the Mountain Heritage Festival in September. It is exciting to for one group to be leaving the community center on Saturday mornings for a Grow Appalachia meeting and exchange greetings with neighbors and friends as another activity begins with Storytelling. Thanks again to Grow Appalachia and John Paul for their support in growing Cowan.