So much has been happening during June at ECOS in Richmond, time has flown by already, and in all of the activity the garden waits for no one. We are learning a lot along the way but what we know for sure is that regular time is secondary to garden time. Garden time runs at its own pace and we have had to learn to be responsive to and reset our internal clock orientation. Our garden is fully planted – corn, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beats, cabbage, broccoli, kale, beans, beans, and even more beans. Our tiny starting plants have already grown into dramatic giants, filling up the space. Our individual gardeners have already commented that they wished we had given them more space to grow more food – noted for next year’s planning. And, some items are ready to be harvested, and you can’t say “NOT YET, we’re not ready”!

So away we go, taking our lead from nature – who will always let us know what is needed next. Grow Appalachia has been a blessing for our community.

A big help came our way June 1st when we hired Sarah Nicely to oversee the day to day tasks as our garden assistant. Sarah, a Richmond resident, expressed and interest and was excited to join the project. She told us that at first she was excited about the opportunity to work in a gardening atmosphere. “I love everything about gardening, hard work included.” The more she learned about the Grow Appalachia project, she realized that she could be a part of a program that helps families in need and that this would be most personally appealing to her. “In the world today you don’t often hear about people or organizations reaching out in such a way to help give families a healthy meal.”

Sarah’s gardening background extends from her first garden in childhood. “We always had a family garden growing up and I spent many hours helping tend to it.” While a student at Berea College, Sarah worked at the campus farm and gardens. “I gained many skills from preparing soil for planting to harvesting and everything in between. Transplanting is my favorite task! I also did a small amount of record keeping for the farmers market side of the business. Furthermore, in my second year I was able to help instruct new student workers on our methods when necessary. Not only did I work in the gardens but as an agriculture student I took classes such as plant science and soil science while attending college. In these classes I was a part of many projects involving the gardens. The most memorable of which was being in charge of planting new blueberry plants. From selecting and ordering the plants to planting and irrigating them I gained a great deal of knowledge.”

Also a full time mom, Sarah said she hopes to be able to pass her love of gardening along to her children over time. In the meantime, we are honored to have Sarah on the team and expect that she will help all of us find a love of gardening as well.


Sarah Nicely, ECOS Garden Assistant

Sarah Nicely, ECOS Garden Assistant