–Kris Arbuckle, High Rocks, Hillsboro, WV. Ever since I was a young child I was always around gardens and farm crop. It was the way my family provided for each other and our community. I spent many of hours wondering around the corn fields amazed at the sheer size of them and was curious as to what made the corn grow so tall.
Corn started it all for me and I wanted to know more and see what else grew on our land that we could eat. My great grandfather saw the interest I had in corn so he made a garden for the two of us so we could provide for the family. We planted carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, brown beans, peas, lettuce, asparagus, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and much more.
I spent hours in the garden observing and waiting to harvest these delicious wonders. Once harvest time came I could remember sitting on the back porch with my great grandfather shucking corn and de-stringing peas and green beans so my great grandmother could cook supper.
My great grandmother also canned lots of beans and various other things my great grandfather would plant for her. It was fascinating; the entire process from digging up the ground to supper on the kitchen table. All of this second nature to my elders, a lifestyle and it was beautiful.
In these mountains we find what we need but also are provided the land and resources to grow what we don’t find. In Appalachia it is our lifestyle to grow our food and live off the food we grow and to make a living. We don’t just keep the food for ourselves but sell and trade with others in our communities.
It’s our culture, it’s in our blood; the dirt in our mountains runs through my veins and I know it will serve me well.
Gardening is not just a hobby but a lifestyle to myself but also my roots that keep me grounded to my home, and family.