A Vista’s Perspective

Hi everyone.  This week’s blog will not be the usual picture filled post that you may be accustomed to seeing.  I wanted to take this time to write about my experience thus far with the Grow Appalachia, and the good I’ve seen come from it.  My name is David Mayfield, and I have been serving with Scott Christian Care Center as an AmeriCorps Vista Volunteer since mid-February.  After earning my Masters in Piano Performance from the University of Tennessee, I wanted to take some time off before starting my terminal degree.  About a year after moving back to Scott County, I saw an advertisement in the local paper seeking a Vista Volunteer for Scott Christian Care Center.  I applied, along with someone else, and we both received a Vista position.

Before volunteering at the Center, I did not have a clue what the Grow Appalachia program was all about.  Actually, I have never even heard of it until last year, when I started as a volunteer before becoming a Vista.  Once I learned the purpose of the program, I thought, “This is a phenomenal idea.”  During this time of hardship for everyone, this program not only assists people with supplementing food cost and income, but also, it connects them with members of the community they would not have meet otherwise.  Those connections are what inspire me too see Grow Appalachia thrive, especially in communities like mine.

I am from Scott County and have grown up here.  So I have seen the effects of the economy on the people in this area and just how much they suffer from trying to make ends meet.    Since working with the program, I have met the most wonderful people.  These individuals look forward to meetings and learning all they can to better produce some of the most wonderful vegetables you can imagine.  They are more than enthusiastic with sharing their gardening experiences, as well as what does and does not work best when it comes to preparing and taking care of a garden.  What is most important to me is seeing people of a community come together and give each other hope.  I have heard stories about how gardening has help someone cope with problems in their life.  Also, how the meetings and being able to take a break from their normal cycle, revives them to go back to daily living.  Though Grow Appalachia is wonderful in stopping generational loss of gardening knowledge and providing people a way to grow nutritious food, to me, the greatest benefit is seeing people help one another and causing a community to grow once again.


A Little Goodie

A volunteer with the Grow Appalachia program at the Center has such a great love for kale that it caused me to experiment with the veggie myself.  So, below is an easy recipe I hope you can enjoy.

2 14-ounce cans chicken broth

1 ½ cups of water

1 cup of brown lentils, rinsed and drained

1 cup of sliced celery (2 stalks)

1 cup of sliced carrots (2 medium)

½ cup of chopped onion (1 medium)

1 teaspoon of snipped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon of dried thyme, crushed

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

1 cup of kale

2 cloves of garlic, minced

6 ounces of cooked, smoked sausage links, quartered lengthwise and sliced

(Feel free to experiment with the portions.  I know I have!)

In a large saucepan combine chicken broth, water, lentils, celery, carrots, onion, dried thyme, if using, red pepper, and garlic.  Bring to boil then reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are tender.  Stir in fresh thyme, if using, and sausage.  Heat through