Another tradition we have in the Big Ugly Creek and Harts area of Lincoln County is a Community Baby Shower. We reach out to all our neighbors with children from birth to three years old, ask them what particular resource needs they have for their children and have a special day that we invite service providers, local businesses, and people who just plain like to be around babies.
Sometimes there will be a spa theme and we’ll have people do neck and head massage. We discuss child development and local educational, health and social service resources. Books are always a big part of the day with clean new board books (ready for chewing) and additional books for babies and older siblings to help the families build their own libraries.
For the past two years Grow Appalachia has been a big part of the day. Last year we held our shower in May and were able to give out tomato plants to twenty families. With the late winter this year and predictions of frost (here they are predicting May 19 as the last frost date since we had thunder on February 19) we gave good cold weather crops: broccoli and cabbage to another group and signed them up for more plants as the spring goes on. Our new greenhouse allows us to give away plants to potential future full-fledged Grow Appalachia families at minimal cost (less than pennies per plant + sweat equity). And there are no potential families we would more like to engage than those that can start their children off with healthy food in the infant and toddler years.