Valerie here with Cowan Community Center.    Hope all of you have made it thru the storm and are looking forward to higher temperatures and snow melting.    I have to admit I was pretty much frozen here in Letcher County.    I had lots of time for reflection and planning.   Our Grow Appalachia meeting had to be postponed, but we will be better prepared next Saturday.

I didn’t get out much, but the best call I had was with my brother, Marshall who gardens at my place.  Each year, he is so tired at the end of the season and swears he will not do it next year.    Our family motto, is “anything worth doing is worth over doing” and he lives by it in the garden.   I help some, but he bares the responsibility of doing  what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether he is tired on not.   He works with AEP and amidst restoring power and being out through the night, he calls to check in on the garden and what our plans might be.    From that, I suppose I liken working in the garden to childbirth, you sort of forget how hard the work is and just see how  much you love the fruits of the labor and plant the seeds again.   This year, my promise to myself is to be more involved, really involved.   One way I plan to help is to try to persuade him to use some easier methods in the garden.   He spends no less than 40 hours trellising beans.   It’s beautiful and easy to pick, but hoping I can convince him to try a different method this year.

Another promising call was from a pastor in our community who wants to get involved and grow for the market.   He lives at the head of Kingdom Come Creek, raises goats and knows what he’s doing, so it will be a win/win to work with him.    Our market needs several more strong growers to anchor the market and we’re courting hard to bring them on.   I was happy to share all the ways Grow Appalachia can help and he seemed encouraged.

Heard from a Grandmother, who has eight (8) grandchildren living with her and wants to get them gardening.    If we can do something to make their life easier and more rewarding, we’ve done something good.

Talked with the Director of the Whitesburg Housing Authority and his Board wants to have a garden on their site.   We’ll be offering cooking classes there in a few weeks thru the Appal-TREE project and hopefully, this will all lead to more awareness and opportunity for growing and eating more fruits and vegetables there.

Talked with the City of Whitesburg about funding for a permanent structure for the Farmers Market.   Lots of variables there and hard to know the best choice, but liking the idea of growing and community support.   I’m sure the Letcher County Farmers Market will make the right decision.

Had a planning session w/some of the folks from the Cowan Community Center on what they expect from the program this year.   We mapped out our calendar and it’s already looking pretty full.    We will continue with community building and working with family gardens, but will be increasing emphasis and resources to support the  market gardener.

Excited and anxious to get things officially going here and meet and work with new and existing Grow Appalachia participants.  My goals for this year are to carry thru w/all we already have going, do them better and find new opportunities for our growers to move forward.   Cowan Community Center thanks you Grow Appalachia for allowing us to participate in such a worthwhile program.