Greetings from Project Worth Outreach in Menifee County, Kentucky.  This month has been very busy for us as I expect it has been for all the Grow Appalachia organizations.  We have held 2 Grow Appalachia Garden participant’s meetings this month.  We have recruited and held orientation classes for 81 home gardeners and 2 community gardens.  We have requested, ordered, received and distributed seeds to all participants.  We have ordered and received fertilizer that will be distributed in the very near future.

Today, I would like to introduce you to the 2 community gardens that we will have the pleasure of working with this growing season.  We are excited about working with these gardens because one of the target groups of Grow Appalachia Gardening is the youth of our region.  Both of our community gardens consist mostly of young people in the 15-16 years old range.  We have one community garden in Menifee County, Frenchburg Group Home and one in Rowan County, Rowan County Senior High School “Bountiful Harvest”.

The Frenchburg Group Home will consist of 8 young men who want to learn how to grow an organic garden.  These young men will be led and taught by 5 dedicated staff members.  They will grow green beans, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, squash, lettuce and cabbage in several raised beds on their campus.  They will grow corn, potatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe in separate plots on their campus.  In total, they will have approximately 9,620 square feet of garden space.  Our sincere hope is that these young men will take the knowledge they obtain through this experience and go home and raise organic gardens and possibly encourage other young people to do the same.

The RCSHS “Bountiful Harvest” garden is a partnership of several entities.  It has been In the works for 15 months.  The organizations involved include Project Worth Outreach, Grow Appalachia Gardening, Rowan County Senior High School, St. Claire Hospital, Rowan County Extension Office and Morehead State University.    Project Worth Outreach and Grow Appalachia Gardening provides technical advise, seeds, fertilizer, payment for soil samples, soil amendments, hand tools, canning supplies, publicity and monthly participant’s meetings.  Rowan County Senior High School provides a class taught by the agriculture teacher and supervision of students working in the garden.   St. Claire Hospital provides a nutritionist to teach a class on nutrition.  The Rowan County Extension Office performs the soil sample and makes recommendations to improve the garden spot.  Morehead State University provides the use of their farms greenhouse to grow the plants to be used by RCSHS “Bountiful Harvest” garden.    Morehead State University Center for regional Engagement, with the assistance of every organization listed above developed a curriculum to be taught by the RCSHS agriculture teacher.  This is in addition to the monthly meetings lessons that are required by Grow Appalachia Gardening.

The RCSHS “Bountiful Harvest” garden will be a coed garden.  It will consist of 16 young men and women.  Each member comes from a family with at least 5 people in it except 2 which has 3.   Their garden will consist of ten 4’ X 8’  raised bed gardens.  They will have approximately 3,200 Square feet to grow corn, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and a few other vegetables.  Our hope for these young gardeners is they will go home and use their knowledge to grow successful organic gardens for years to come.

We hope that this is just the beginning of a successful partnership.  I will provide updates and photos throughout the growing season so we can tract their progress.  I hope to interview several of these young people and provide excerpts from these interviews in future blog posts.  In addition, I hope to do a blog post on their gardening experience.  

Hope everyone has a great start to the growing season and has as much fun with the program as I am having.  So, let’s go play (I mean work ) in our gardens.