With the launch of Hindman Settlement School’s Grow Appalachia program, we have come full circle. The Settlement School’s farm program began in 1909 with the establishment of a dairy. We acquired our first farm in 1910 and began employing fulltime agricultural extension workers in 1916, with the support of the Southern Industrial Agriculture Association.
Following a trend in much of the rest of the country, our farm and dairy programs ended in 1958. In 1973, we became a partner with the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and we supported a 4-H agent on our campus for 40 years. We continue to partner with our Agriculture Extension Agent, Chad Conway.
The Grow Appalachia project has reconnected us with this past and promises to strengthen our connection to families who are raising their own food in Knott County. Brett Ratliff, our program director, oversees our Grow Appalachia program. Additionally, local farmer Bobby Perkins, is our field coordinator and David Cornette has recently arrived on campus as a summer intern for Grow Appalachia. You will be hearing more from him soon.
We are currently working with 33 families with a diverse range of backgrounds, including: young families that have never gardened before; elderly folks who either have wanted to garden but never had the opportunity or want to continue gardening but need assistance; single parents; grandparents who are raising their grandchildren; disabled individuals who need assistance; experienced gardeners and everything in between.
We are excited to be part of this important work and look forward to keeping you updated on our progress!