In 2015 we saw many new families join the program and many committed participants returning to share their gardening knowledge and experience. With forty three families participating in the program this year, GA has helped a wide range of families from single mothers to elderly widows and everyone in between. In spite of some of the most challenging weather conditions in many years, our growers persevered to produce an astounding bounty of nearly 41,000 lbs. of food.
Our ever expanding workshop series was well attended and covered a variety of topics in addition to the core GA requirements. The most recent additions to our educational offerings are sorghum production and processing, woodland medicinal production and marketing as well as bee health and hive construction. The average attendance for each workshop is 35 and the combined total for all workshops is 383.
Another new and exciting component of our GA program focuses on our continuing efforts to support participants who are interested in marketing their produce. We offered two new workshops that covered GAP training and market readiness which provided an opportunity for attendees to attain a GAP training certificate from UK extension. Additionally we hosted a small farm marketing principles workshop that was led by Will and Maggie Bowling who are actively engaged in a local food oriented enterprise in the region. In direct support of this work PMSS set aside 5% of the kitchen budget to purchase local produce, placing priority on GA participants. Building on the success of this pilot, we plan to increase the budget to 15% for local food purchases in 2016.
Once again, it has been a genuine pleasure to be a part of the tremendous impact that Grow Appalachia has made and continues to make in Central Appalachia. I look forward to 2016 with much excitement and anticipation of another great year.
Below is the schedule of all our GA workshops and events through 2016.
• 2/9/16 – Garden Planning and Planting
• 3/12/16 – Seed Swap (Bill Best of SMAC)
• 3/29/16 – Market Gardening
• 4/21/16 – Beekeeping Workshop (Kentucky State Apiarist Tammy Horn)
• 5/17/16 – Organic Garden Maintenance
• 6/23/16 – Food Preservation/Healthy Cooking
• 7/21/16 – Small Farm Marketing Principles
• 8/25/16 – Season Extension/Winter Gardening
• 9/16/16 – 9/17/16 – Sorghum Stir-off (Local expert Gary Branson)
• 10/22/16 – Woodland Medicinal Production
• 11/12/16 – Bee and Honey Festival
• 12/15/16 – Mushroom Production