On August 7th, we loaded up and went to Frakes, Ky to meet with our participants out at Clover Creek Farm. Upon arriving there, we were greeted with smiles and hand-shakes. We toured the property and saw chickens, some fruit bushes, their garden and their high tunnel.
Franklin Mason, the father, takes charge of the dairy side of things. Rachael Mason, their daughter, is a Berea graduate and was a Grow Appalachia intern. Richard Mason, their son, had attended the Kentucky Small, Limited Resource, Minority Farmers Conference held at Kentucky State University in Frankfort with me. Being able to attend the training was a partnership of the UK Cooperative Extension Office and Grow Appalachia. While we were there, we attended a session on high tunnel available funding for small farms, construction, maintenance and gardening. Just in time, too, as their high tunnel was already under construction.
During the tour of the property, we were inspired as we were told about their lifestyle. They have their garden, milk cows, beef cows and chickens. Milk, butter and buttermilk are made on site. Fresh bread is made everyday. They make their own jams and jellies. Using ingredients on the farm, Esther makes their hand soap, laundry soap and dishwashing liquid. In short, they live off their farm. What they need to purchase, they purchase with the revenue from their sales.
In the spirit of giving back, Esther Mason teaches Plate It Up classes at the Pineville, Bell County Public Library. She also facilitates a Frugal Friday Series at the same library, encouraging and teaching others to live a green and sustainable life.
The Mason’s lifestyle is perfectly aligned with the “Why” of Grow Appalachia. They farm organically, have self sustainability and share their knowledge with others. I’ll close with the first sentence from Esther Mason’s Frugal Friday Series pamphlet above.
“Let us embark on a green and sustainable journey that will enrich both our earth and our pocketbooks.”