-Step by Step, Logan County, West Virginia
Marketing still scares off a number of our new gardeners. Many of them are from the “lost generation” around here—grandparents all had big gardens but parents got caught up in the “walmart ization” of the economy—people holding multiple (often no benefit) jobs that left little time at the homestead. This month we have been meeting with our partners on Big Ugly Creek to develop as broad a menu of marketing opportunities.
We are focusing on “sharing the wealth.” Our gardeners are excited about how much we collectively harvested in 2014 so the idea of raising some additional crops to share with others is within our scope. Here are some of the ideas people have had so far:
- Garden to After School and Summer: Through our community partners we are blessed with connections to summer and after school programs (five in our county alone where the nearby Lincoln County school system cancelled all of its summer programs which means other than our friends at Big Ugly, there will be very little summer food available for children.) We will work with the after school programs to get families excited about gardening this spring, having the children take over some of our plants from greenhouse seedlings until they are ready to go in the ground post the May frost. We will also work to supply home grown potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash for programs come fall.
- Heirloom seed no GMO plant extravaganzas: If the Girl Scouts can take orders for cookies, why can’t we do the same for plants? We know we can sell them cheaper and provide healthier pants whose seeds can be saved for next year.
- Where there is a flea market, there is a way: We are also looking for places our community already gathers—flea markets, community auctions, scrimmages for fall sports in August for a traveling market.
These may seem like baby steps for more seasoned gardeners but for those who are entering only their second year, it’s a big stretch. We’d love to hear of other ways our kindred sites across the Grow Appalachia family have come up with out of the box venues to help our gardeners take those first steps towards increasing their household income — their hard work not just making their families healthier, but making the community of sharing healthier as well.