In October of 2011 I started working at St. Vincent Mission in a position that had great perks–real food, wonderful stories and playing in the dirt. I was the new Grow Appalachia program director and greener than a green tomato.

Three years later I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. The real food sparked a desire to create a local food economy where more people could eat healthier. The wonderful stories became relationship with real people who worked very, very hard to put food on their own tables and those of their neighbors. And the dirt? Well I have come to recognize and respect dirt more than anything else. Except for maybe the people who nurture it.

Today, a new Sister takes over the Grillo at St. Vincent Mission. Sister Ann Quinn has a passion for people and the earth and new and exciting ideas for families in Floyd County. She will tell you more about herself in the near future. This post is to say thanks.


To John Paul DeJoria for his vision and generosity.



To David Cooke for his belief that growing food can change lives.




To Sister Kathleen for giving me the job to begin with

To Maggie, Valerie and Candace who pulled me from the fire a lot. To Mark for his willingness to do whatever we needed done.

To the larger GA family members who shared the stories of growing food in Appalachia through this blog. And of course to the many families here in Floyd County who let me into their gardens and their lives. You are all a blessing.

Don’t think I am retiring to some easy chair someplace though. Through the success of the Grow Appalachia program at St. Vincent Mission and a town hall meeting held in 2013, I am pleased to be continuing my work in developing the local food economy here in eastern Kentucky through our new not for profit Appalachian Roots Inc dedicated to bringing food self-reliance to the region. Our mission is to make healthy foods available to communities throughout Eastern Kentucky.

See what playing in the dirt can do? Good food, great friends and a chance to change the world-one garden at a time. I plan on keeping my hands dirty and I’ll see you around the garden.

Peace, Sister Kathy Curtis


Promoting Grow Appalachia at the Regional Farmers’ Market in Hazard KY