This edition of the Red Bird Mission Grow Appalachia Blog is written by a GA Volunteer from Virginia.

Hello. My name is Don and I am a volunteer with Red Bird Mission Site assigned to the Grow Appalachia office.  The observations are mine after 3 weeks here in Kentucky.


On Thursday March 20, Grow Appalachia at Red Bird Mission held a class, led by Jeff Casada on Marketing our Produce and Tips on fertilizing, spacing, and rotating and variety selection for home gardens.  Jeff is county extension agent and his very informative presentation was followed by a question and answer session that included specific suggestions for those with personal garden issues or problems.  


“…now, .to grow a really big cucumber…”



Jeff Casada Clay County extension office agriculture agent



We expected 35 to 40 attendees but were surprised to have 65 folks show up.  In previous years, we have averaged between 25 and 35 attendees.  Yet both Feb & March meetings had attendance of over 60 with March’s attendance being a whopping 67 folks. This is a direct reflection of the success Chad has had on the local Grow Appalachia community involvement.  We hope that this excitement and anticipation of “things to come” and the awareness of the potential benefits of their gardens, both by growing their own food and providing income for an economically stressed community. Several attendees were pleased to win a door-prize.  Most attendees registered for and received a sack of seed potatoes as well as onions.  As of this writing, many of them have planted both.  Could be a bountiful harvest this year.


During my 3 weeks here, I have witnessed a growing appreciation by participants and non-participants in the Grow Appalachian program as led by Chad Brock.  What a wonderful young man. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the area, the people and their gardening needs is impressive. How great it would be if there was a similar program in Northern Virginia.  Although our church runs several food banks supplied by our local gardens, the Kentucky GA program is beyond compare.


Chad has led me thru many Home Visits to assess gardening needs, owners abilities and plot evaluations.  Chad stimulates the interest of the GA participants with questions, suggestions and always – an offer to help with “home grown food supplements.” Many folks are well experienced in the garden and others – not so much.  The sharing of experience and information between the participants is wonderful to see “folks helping folks.”


Over the next two weeks, we are looking for photos from our GA participants.  Especially ones that show a family working together.

A “family that gardens together harvests together.”


This month, we will make a special award for the one picture of the Oldest and Youngest immediate family members planting together.  Grandparents: Get your grandkids out in that garden with you.  Get us a photo of you working together. Enjoy the opportunities this spring.


Grace, Peace & Mercy to all. 

Don – Grow Appalachia Volunteer

See you in the dirt….