As with the dawn of a new day and the seasonal transition to fall, I (Preston Jones) have transitioned into a new form of employment as the Grow Appalachia Coordinator at Pine Mountain Settlement School. Having been here for little over a month, excitement and activity have proven to be in ample supply. A native of Harlan County, I myself understand very well the need for economic diversity. This understanding directed my thinking as I planned a big day to offer a couple of workshops on culinary herb production as well as woodland medicinal plant production, both of which are well suited for the region and generally are highly marketable products.
So on October 18th, our big day began as Dr. Sunshine Brosi, Assistant Professor at Frostburg State University, led a workshop on culinary herb production. Participants propagated Basil, Cilantro and Thyme as they made their own window seal herb terrariums to take home. During this workshop we also discussed Dr. Brosi’s tried and proven method for Paw Paw seed germination, which is nearly impossible if you abide by standard germination techniques. Paw Paw is another regionally well suited plant that has great potential for marketing. After the first workshop we enjoyed a local food potluck lunch which included a plethora of dishes prepared from locally grown or harvested ingredients. After lunch Dr. Brosi led the second workshop which covered the production of various woodland medicinal plants such as ginseng, goldenseal and black cohosh. Participants then made their way outside to take part in the planting of ginseng rootlets and seed which they also got to take home and plant.
Further adding to the excitement of the day was the participation of seven guests from Paul Mitchell Systems. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them personally for coming to Pine Mountain Settlement School and seeing some of the great things that Grow Appalachia has allowed us to do here.