Two days ago we closed out a wonderfully energizing celebration of local food, Appalachian foodways, and dance (to round things out). The Hindman Settlement School played host to the inaugural weekend of what we hope to turn into a yearly event, Dumplins and Dancin’. Between the deep frosts of early December and the beautiful, cozy sunshine that graced the weekend we welcomed about 50 people to campus for workshops on fermenting sauerkraut, preserving heirloom seeds, curing hams, and even “Appalachifying” Middle Eastern food. Arwen Donahue of Three Springs Farm taught a workshop on working with vegetables and “creative cooking from the kitchen garden,” and Chef Ouita Michel led participants through working with traditional dumpling recipes – both sweet and savory. While not all of our participants were local, this weekend did give us exciting ideas for how to broaden our offerings of nutrition and food-related workshops that we offer to our Grow Appalachia participants. For the school, we see this as an important part of celebrating locally produced food, and most importantly emphasizing the community aspect of eating together.
In other news:
The slower fall and winter months are giving us time to organize our thoughts for the 2016 season and beyond – and there are some fun things brewing. We are eagerly planning for new programming down the road, as we try to meet the needs and requests of our participating gardeners. (We’re trying not to bite off more than we can chew, but since we know these programs could be immensely useful we’re rounding up resources and starting conversations!). These include initiating a community canning kitchen, expanding some participants’ gardens, helping connect our growers with resources for raising chickens and keeping bees, and talking with both a local church and another organization about the potential for two new large gardens in our community. We’ll keep you posted on our progress!
Dear Winter: Our turnips are heartier than you. Still kickin’!
- Jacob Mack-Boll, writing from the Hindman Settlement School