By: Kathryn Engle

Hey y’all,

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be posting for January, but maybe this will make up for my missed December post I never uploaded.

After the Grow Appalachia program winded down this fall we continued work with the Knox County Farmers’ Market and in October we were able to get our 501c3 nonprofit status which was exciting!

In December I attended the Community Farm Alliance Farmers’ Market Gathering in Lexington. Markets from throughout the state were able to network and share ideas and visions. Community Farm Alliance is a great organization that does lots of work throughout the Commonwealth. The Knox County Farmers’ Market is hoping to collaborate with CFA on the Double Dollars program in the future to provide matching funds for low-income folks shopping at the market.

Also in December I attended the 5th Annual Sustainability Forum at the University of Kentucky. Hannah Bingham, our Grow Appalachia intern also attended. We shared our poster “Growing Appalachia: Local Foods & Community Development in Knox County, Kentucky” which covers our work with Grow Appalachia, the Knox County Farmers’ Market, and the Local Foods, Local Places program. Our poster was awarded first place which was an exciting achievement. Thanks to the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment and UK’s Appalachian Center for sponsoring the Forum.

I am also excited next year to continue collecting oral histories for the “Stinking Creek Stories” oral history project. The Lend-A-Hand Center was awarded a grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission to support the project. I will be interviewing people on Stinking Creek to learn about their agricultural histories as well as their experiences with the Lend-A-Hand Center. I will be partnering with the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky to house and organize the interviews. I am also piloting a new online file transfer system with the Center so hopefully everything will go smoothly.

Also, over the past couple months I’ve been working on what I call my “Solar Scheme.” The Knox County Cooperative Extension is building a pavilion to house the Knox County Farmers’ Market and other community activities. I am working on gathering information to find out how we can put solar panels on the pavilion in order to provide solar power for the building. More information to come!

Also, here is Irma’s New Year’s newspaper article. Here’s to a great 2016 partnering with Grow Appalachia!

By: Irma Gall

New Years resolutions—It is a good time to take inventory of our life and habits, but resolutions can stand alone, they do not need to lean on New Years. Any time in our life we can become aware that something needs to change. Some times things happen that calls us to make a change or even a drastic change in our daily lives or lifestyle. It could be an accident or illness. Or even falling in love and or marriage that seems to force us to make new resolutions about our lives. Unexpected separation or divorce also signals an abrupt change in the way we live. Unfortunately many times these changes occur in the midst of emotional turmoil and confusion. Sometimes we feel the need to make a resolution from a sentence or statement someone says.

So not just on New Years but any time in life we can come to the resolution that something needs or will change. So we set about making a goal, usually something that we think we can control. Setting a goal properly is a good start. So do it. Do it right. Do it right now. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. If you aim at nothing you will be successful every time.

However, there is a danger in making resolutions; it is a temptation to be preoccupied with oneself. The more you think of yourself, the harder it is to think of anything else or anyone else. So we must be aware of the reason for the need to make this resolution. Is it selfish or selfless? Are we truly being thoughtful of others? What is the true reason for the striving?

Instead of striving to do something better for our lives or even for God, we allow God to come in and set new goals—let God strive within us to do something through us. Frenchman Simone Weil once said, “It is not my business to think of myself. It is my business to think of God. It is God’s business to think of me.” And God is good at God’s business!

So our first resolution at this new year could be to leave our heart open to unexpected divine appointment that we don’t schedule for ourselves and allow God to work in us so that He can work through us. We must be open to hear and ready to obey. It might even be something very drastic like what Mary heard the angel say one day. What a challenge he gave her. And her answer was simply “Let it be” even though she did not understand how it could be. So maybe our motto for this year might be “Let it be” rather than “Let it go.”