The Grow Appalachia team is growing and has been out and about again. It has been a week of new faces and new places for our two student staff members.

Meet Addison Whitaker

Meet Addison Whitaker, a rising junior at the University of Kentucky. He is majoring in Agricultural Economics. 

 We are very fortunate to have Addison on our team and hope we can provide quality experiences for him to participate in this summer.   Each time I’m given the opportunity to have a conversation with Addison, I come away having  learned something.   He is a well informed UK Agriculture student and it is obvious to see he has a passion for this topic and takes very seriously.   He willing helped on the 4×4 raised beds, but it’s clear his aspirations include a raised bed for the world.   He may just be digging a trench to level a toddlers “play garden,” but he’s talking and sharing the value of seeds and quietly states, “it just doesn’t seem right that one person should own the seeds.”   With his values and knowledge he will have an impact this summer and hopefully, our project will help in building a foundation for his path.    Addison attended our Community meeting and he patiently sat through discussions of the possibility of a Farmer’s Market and when given the opportunity shared excellent ideas.   It was very reassuring  to have a meeting with several generations represented and providing opportunities for youth to be part of the plan and process.  After a few days in the trenches, I reassured him that we had opportunity for him to explore his own particular interests.   Shortly, he let me know chickens were high on his list and he will be researching best practices for that and take the lead on that endeavor.

Meet Logan Dollarhide

Meet Logan Dollarhide, a rising junior Letcher County Central High School. He is an alumni of the 4-H Program in Letcher County.

Logan brings many talents to the Grow Appalachia team.    He has worked many years with his family in a large  garden and has experiences on his farm that were naturally a part of his everyday life that will allow him to be an asset to the program and our gardeners.   He and his family are quite self sufficient.    Logan has been an active member of the Cowan Community throughout his childhood.    The Cowan Community Center might have been seen as an added responsibility when it was time to spruce up grounds, plant flowers or whatever the pending project, however,  Logan has always been a willing worker.    We hope this role in the Grow Appalachia project will provide a unique perspective of our community.    In addition to bringing his garden hoe when working with the Grow Appalachia students, Logan will also bring his banjo as he is an accomplished musician as well.    He has been a participant of the Cowan Creek Music School for many years and this year will be serving as an Apprentice Teacher at the school.   Students will have the opportunity to have a “hoe down” when the garden work is complete.    How nice to pair traditional mountain music with gardening in one summer youth student.

Two student staff members on the Grow Appalachia team ventured out to the Appalachian Child Care center bearing raised garden bed gifts.   Addison and Logan work well together as they both have been active members of the Letcher County 4-H program.


After constructing and building the beds last week, Addison Whitaker and Logan Dollarhide spent this week leveling the raised beds into the ground for a successful gardening season for the youth at the child care center.   David Fisher and Steve Dollarhide, Logan’s father, helped in the efforts to secure the beds into a sloping hill at the facility.

Successfully leveled raised beds! Good work boys!

Successfully leveled raised beds! Good work boys!

After a few days of hard work, shoveling and bed placement, the two student staff members accomplished their challenging task with a smile.   Go Logan and Addison!!    We did not have this summer employment budgeted last year, but feel as proud and hopeful for the growth  these young men will make as we do of our gardens and likewise they will help us grow as well.    This is one of the opportunities that warrants a special thanks to John Paul for providing this opportunity.    It makes a difference.