By: Kathryn Engle

Things have been busy with the Lend-A-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Gardening Program! This blog has several different updates on programs and events we have been involved with this past month.



On June 1st we had a program with the local Girl Scout troop. They planted several different plants at the Barbourville Community Garden and enjoyed getting their hands dirty



One of the most exciting events of the summer for the LAHC Grow Appalachia program was participating in the “Local Foods Local Places” workshop held in Barbourville on June 16th and 17th.  Last year the community was awarded one of 26 grants nationwide to help develop the Knox County Farmers’ Market and work on developing the local food system in the county. This day-and-a-half workshop brought together federal and community partners.


On the 16th we met with federal partners and had lunch at Union College. We then had a walking tour of Barbourville and an afternoon session. In the session we got to know each other and brainstormed challenges and opportunities with local foods in the area. We then had dinner at Romeo’s the new Italian restaurant in downtown Barbourville.


On the 17th, we looked at different case studies of communities that had been developing their local food system including Huntington, West Virginia; Tuskegee, Alabama; Youngstown, Ohio; and Williamson, West Virginia. We learned about different case studies and organizations doing a variety of local food initiatives. We then did a mapping exercise in which we plotted places in the county that may be considered assets, opportunities, or needs relating to local foods.


Angel Hill, LAHC GA Intern writes some needs, opportunities, and assets in the county.

In the last part of the workshop we worked on five different goals. The goals were:

  • Evaluate options for a location for seasonal and mobile farmers market.
  • Identify sustainable model for farmers’ market organization, finance and governance.
  • Seek opportunities to expand use of local food in local businesses and institutions and sale of local foods to local customers.
  • Expand access to local foods by making it affordable and available at local markets through programs such as SNAP, WIC and EBT.
  • Leverage local food network to support economic and community development through connections to youth, development of food-related businesses and promotion of tourism

Based on the brainstorming during the workshop we will have an action plan of implementation of these goals. We are continuing to work on the action plan and have two more conference calls with the project. We are looking forward to sharing the complete action plan and moving forward with some exciting initiatives in the county!



On June 24th we had a visit from officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Earl Gohl, ARC Federal Co-chair and Guy Land, ARC Chief of Staff visited Barbourville and met with members of the Knox County Farmers’ Market board. We toured downtown and briefed them on the workshop that happened the week before. We shared with them about the Grow Appalachia program and the great local foods initiatives we are planning for the future.



Over the month of June we’ve have also had several work days at the Dewitt Community Garden. See more pics here.



June and the beginning has also meant garden visits and beginning harvests. We had a series of garden visits on July 2nd. The gardens are looking great! See more pics here.


From: Irma Gall

This article originally appeared in the Barbourville Mountain Advocate.

Stinking Creek News
Irma Gall

Lend-A-Hand Center

Hurray, the garden has taken a new turn. Up to now it has been work, work and more work. First came the planning which is not hard for those who have been gardening for a time. There are certain vegetables and fruits we are well acquainted with and some we don’t want to deal with. In the planning stage we have to consider the space, the seeds or plants and the tools available. Grow Appalachia can help with all these.

After the planning stage comes soil preparation. In my case since I have lots of space and a tiller for my farm tractor this is a fairly easy stage. I also have access to a 6 inch small hand-held tiller, which is very handy for small spaces such as raised beds and boxed areas. Then there is a larger 16 inch front tiller and a 26 inch behind tiller which walks almost on its own through the row. However the most useful tool is the hoe which soon becomes like a second or third hand to the gardener.

But the real work begins in the third stage as the plants begin to grow. But the planted seed is not the only thing to grow. Oh, no, the weeds are just waiting their chance. It is often hard to distinguish which is which. I use radish and/or lettuce seeds planted at the same time in the same area as an aid in this stage as they sprout quickly and establish the row for the much slower seeds to sprout. They can easily be pulled and used for food and leave space for the corn or beans or red beets and especially carrots. This is more important than it would seem as it points out the row. For example, new morning glories look remarkably like new green beans or Johnson grass resembles corn. Knowing exactly where the row is helps to know which is to be pulled out and which gets a chance to grow.

By the middle of June the garden takes a new turn. Oh, there is still planning and cultivating, even planting, but now it is time to harvest. One evening I walked through the garden and picked up a yellow squash, a green zucchini, several green onions and soon had all I needed to make a delicious stir-fry. I sometimes add chunks of potatoes, some Swiss chard or amaranth leaves or stem for a different taste. Another day I might plan a meal around sugar snaps or peas or newly picked green beans. I am also aware there is broccoli and cauliflower ready to harvest with tomatoes and cucumbers coming on fast. I also note the first of the sweet corn is in tassel and even silk stage.

Incidentally, if you don’t have a garden, you can experience some of the same thrill by visiting the Farmers Market located at the Extension Office each Thursday evening from 5:00 until 8:00. If you live near the Dewitt school there is also a community garden for harvesting some of the same fresh vegetables. Here is your chance to enjoy not only the variety but truly fresh and wholesome food raised in Knox County.