Tucked away by the Alderson Cemetery is Alderson Manor Apartments, a low-income elderly and disabled independent living complex with over 70 residents. The property is up on a hill above town, and affords a picturesque view of Keeney Mountain and the other hills that give Alderson its nickname, “Gem of the Hills.”
Most Manor residents grew up in the country and have a background in gardening. This year, four residents at Alderson Manor are in our Grow Appalachia program. Sara Smith has been an avid gardener her whole life, but had not been able to do much gardening at the Manor due to lack of space and physical limitations. A few years ago, raised beds were built behind a few of the buildings as part of a Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints grant through WVU, allowing Sara and other residents to garden for the first time in years. Grow Appalachia has allowed this effort to continue and expand, with additional potted plants and trellised peas.
The peas were a vision of another Manor participant in GA this year, Karen Poile. “I just love herbs,” says Karen, who also appreciates the accessible gardening space out her front door. She has pots of herbs arranged around the base of the raised bed, which she uses in her delicious, creative home cooking.
Paul Bland Sr and Paul Bland Jr have filled the flower beds around his apartment with various edibles, and applied for additional space in one of the Food Hub’s community gardens in a FEMA lot across town. Paul shares his wealth of gardening knowledge with anyone, from seed-saving, cultural pest management to natural remedies. He plants for himself and his son, but is just as apt to give away his produce to those he sees are in greater need.