Good morning my fellow Appalachians,

Recently, my friend, and fellow VISTA, Brady Adcock, contacted me about participating with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) for a healthy food initiative.  The project consists of four workshops, promoting healthy eating and lifestyle; we have partnered with the ATC to help host two of the four workshops. Last night, we hosted our first partnered event at the county library in Damascus, VA.


The goal of this workshop was to show locals easy and tasty ways to make healthy snacks.  I showcased a simple smoothie, consisting of strawberries, bananas, yogurt, apple juice, and most importantly – kale!  Our Summer VISTAs demonstrated hummus and a gazpacho recipe.  All three were a huge hit, and all the families were very engaged and surprised with how nutritious these snacks were.  I had a few people who were initially apprehensive about tasting a smoothie with kale in the mix, but after their first sip they realized the kale was virtually tasteless, and became believers!  We handed out instructional recipes to all attending, with step-by-step instructions as well as the nutritional value of a serving size; all of our recipes included many vegetables from our demonstration garden, which were harvested just a few hours prior.


Overall, the event was a huge success, and everything went smoothly.  We were also able to showcase the huge success of Grow Your Own, and many of the locals that came out were interested in participating next year!

All of the workshops are open to the public and are free2O!  Here is the schedule for the upcoming events:

  • July 31st, 6:30PM: Ditch the TV and Hike the A.T.! – Come hear how hiking will improve your health and fitness.  There will be a short hike after the event, going through Backbone Rock and Falls.
  • August 7th, 6:30PM: Grow Your Own – We will be leading this workshop, showcasing how awesome our program is, how new families can get involved, and handing out transplants to everyone attending!
  • August 9th, 9:00AM: Final Family Hike – Explore the Grayson Highlands!  Offering scenic views from grassy meadows over 5,000ft high!  Meet the shuttle at the Damascus Library at 9:00AM.

I will be posting all the recipes from last night’s event soon!