By Jason Von Kundra from Sprouting Hope in Marion, VA
Distributing hundreds of pounds of produce to people receiving food assistance, hosting a day camp for children with type one diabetes, flooding in our potato patch, youth education programs, and selling our own honey are just some of our activities this past month. The weather is fantastic, people are excited, and the garden is thriving!
We have harvested nearly a ton to date, much of which in the last month. Anyone that comes to the garden and volunteer shares in the harvest with a focus on participation from folks receiving food assistance. Most of what we grow is donated to the local food pantries, soup kitchens, senior center and free clinic. Harvesting now: tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, zucchini, beets, okra, potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs!
Sprouting Hope along with the Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center and Smyth County Community Hospital hosted our first youth type one diabetes day camp with funding from Climb for a Cure. The camp included boating, hiking, nutrition education, team building, and of course gardening and cooking! A huge success, we plan to organize an overnight camp for next year.
Too much of a good thing! We had serious flooding like many of the folks in the Grow Appalachia network. Our potato patch was covered in standing water for days and disease flooded into the garden with the monsoon weather. Thankfully the rain has tapered off toward the end of July. Here’s the road flooded out in front of our potato patch.
Last week we harvested our first batch of honey from our bee hives, 19 pints of Black Locust Honey! We sold them at the Farmers’ Market for $10 a pint as a fundraiser for the garden and sold out. We plan to harvest more in the fall.