Cowan Community Center was proud to have our name along with Grow Appalachia on the new Appal-TREE office located at 198B Main Street in Whitesburg, Kentucky.    The Appal-TREE project, Appalachians Together Restoring the Eating Environment is a community/University of Kentucky Research project, Cowan Community Center and our Grow Appalachia project are happy to be involved.   Although, the Appal-TREE project does not focus exclusively on gardening, the project definitely promotes gardening as a means of healthy food/nutrition.   Thanks to Kevin Blomenkamp, for the design logo and Deanna Whitaker, for printing and installation.

Our new door in all it's glory!

Our new door in all it’s glory!

The office also houses Mountain Garden Initiative, co-founded by Hilary Neff, who works with schools in establishing school gardens.    Hilary also works with the Appal-TREE project and volunteers for our Grow Appalachia project.    When the Letcher County Farmers Market manager is hired, thanks to funding from Community Farm Alliance and Whitesburg City Council, office space will be available for the manager as well.  The idea of the office is to be a hub for food/nutrition and gardening issues and provide support and resources in any way we can.

Our major accomplishment last week was to complete the process for our Farmers Market to be able to accept WIC vouchers.    We anticipate 200 participants will receive $20 in WIC vouchers to be used at the Farmers Market.    This translates to $4,000.00 in possible sales for our growers and fresh fruit/vegetables for eligible women and children.    The training for our growers to learn the process for accepting will be held on May 15th at the Letcher County Health Department.    With the additional double dollars program provided by Community Farm Alliance, this a win-win for all.    I’d love to hear from those of you involved w/the market any ideas or advice you have on how to be sure WIC participants receive and use their vouchers.

Shaping Our Appalachian Region, (SOAR) working groups have begun the process of conducting listening sessions and making plans to present to the Executive committee in September.   I’m happy to have been invited to serve on the working group and look forward to hearing from neighbors across the region on their ideas for promoting Agriculture in Appalachia.

Our community is ripe for agricultural growth and I’m pleased to be a part of it.