This week we held our July workshop, Planning for Fall Season Extension. This workshop was of particular importance this year due to many of our participants having issues in their gardens because of the excessive rain. We told our participants not to give up hope and encouraged them to keep planting and start planning out a fall garden. The workshop concluded with participants rummaging through our seed stock for some fall seeds. I know I’m excited about spinach, beets, broccoli, and more!
Last week, we took the high school interns to Berea for a fun day learning about gardening and local food. First, we went on a tour of the Berea College Greenhouse and Gardens where we learned about their student labor program, how peanuts grow, composting, and of course much more. Their garden program supplies food to the campus dining hall, the Berea College Farm Store, and even grows seed for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Our next stop was Grow Appalachia headquarters. We were lucky to have Holly and David take us out to their demonstration garden. There we learned about heirloom beans, trellising methods, cover crops, and more. Last stop was the Village Trough for a delicious local lunch. Many of their ingredients are local and organic which we love! After lunch we looked around some of the gardens outside which supply food to the restaurant. One of ASPI’s participants is actually a co-owner and grows veggies for the Village Trough.
This is our interns last week with ASPI. We have been extremely grateful for their hard work this summer. They have been a huge help in maintaining the gardens and selling at the farmers market. The interns have even made and sold their own value added products. They baked zucchini bread and made jewelweed salve. Jewelweed is a natural remedy to relieve skin irritation caused by poison ivy, bug bites, and more. The jewelweed salve will soon be available on our website. Today was the last day for the interns which we celebrated by canning! Our apple and pear trees have a lot of ripe fruit just begging to be canned into delicious preserves. Our hands maybe a little sore after all of that peeling, but we are looking forward to enjoying the preserves later. After canning, the interns presented their final projects. One of the interns prepared a local meal which included ingredients mostly from our garden and the farmers market. The other intern researched a presented information on identifying and eating wild edibles. They both did an excellent job this summer!
ASPI will have podcasts available on our website very soon. Our first podcast on soil health is almost complete. We have been recording audio from all of our workshops and even conducting some interviews. We hope that this make our workshops accessible to a wider audience.
This also happens to be my last week at ASPI since I will be leaving for graduate school this fall. I have worked with the Grow Appalachia program at ASPI for three summers now. I have greatly enjoyed my time and have learned so much! I had very little gardening experience when I first started as an intern, but I continue to learn through experience, attending the workshops, and learning from all of the people I’ve met through Grow Appalachia. I will definitely be taking my gardening skills with me (I’m excited about planning a small garden for this fall). Working with Grow Appalachia made me realize my love of gardening, cooking, and food systems. I have loved working with such great people and a great program!