I wanted to take this blog opportunity to share with you some of the responses that we received to our 2015 Grow questionnaire, which we sent out to all of the participants.  Many didn’t reply, but those that did had overwhelmingly positive things to say!  Here is some of the feedback that we received:

Was this your first year growing a garden (home or in the community plot)?  If not, how long have you had a garden?
 3 years having a home garden
I had a pretty unsuccessful garden for the past 4 years. This has been my first successful garden
No. We’ve had a garden at our house for 3 years, and I had a spot in another community garden for 2 years prior to that (5 years total.)
Did you feel that Grow Appalachia gave you all of the tools you needed to be successful?  If not, what did you need that you didn’t receive (this could be physical items or education)?
 More class opportunities. This might be impossible but it would be nice if the program hired someone that could till our home gardens
Yes, the classes were a great addition of information. The scuffle hoe was an awesome tool, and helped save time (and our backs) from weeding.  The canning class was probably my favorite class, and receiving the canning jars was extremely nice.
Did you participate in the entire program?  If not, when and why did you stop?
Did the classes provide enough information/education?  If not, what was missing?
Wonderful info! Especially on composting, pests and blight. Kelsey is very knowledgeable and it was great having her visit my garden!
Yes. I would have liked a few more classes. 
Are there any classes you would like to see added (we will be adding some next year for 2nd year participants)?
More classes with Faine Irvine so we can continue to pick his brain!! Class about high tunnels and grant opportunities for getting one, everything involved.
I would like classes on proper crop spacing, what types of crops to plant or not to plant along side one another and trellising.  Also, a class focusing on pollination.  We never really discussed how farmers pollinate, bees or the effects cover crops and flowers have on bee populations. 
If there is a class to handle blight with tomatoes.
Will you take part again next year?  Will you recommend the program to friends and neighbors?
Yes and yes.
Yes & Absolutely! 
Yes, and absolutely
What was your biggest takeaway from participating with Grow?
This was my first time planting everything from seed so the whole process was pretty amazing. I learned so much about compost, organically dealing with pests, and how to deal with blight. Being required to map out my garden before planting was also very helpful – in the past I just went with it so it was nice to have a plan. I think the most helpful part of Grow was having someone to answer questions, I didn’t feel overwhelmed with the process especially when unexpected things happened. So much thanks to Kelsey and Kelley!!!!
I now have a foundation of gardening knowledge. Instead of just planting seeds and seeing what happens, I can now confidently produce delicious food for myself and others.  More than anything, I enjoyed learning with the adults and children who are my neighbors in this beautiful little area. Thank you so much for the opportunity. 
We loved having another area (with better soil) to grow produce for our family. We love to can, and preserve our food, and the garden was a huge success for us.
I just love the yes and absolutely responses we received!  We are starting to ramp up already (no pun intended) so that we can start early on this year’s garden.  In addition to the participants of last year we have interest from more than 20 additional people, so we are looking for 2016 to be amazing!
Next month look for a blog addressing some of the feedback we received and some improvements we are going to be making (like home tilling).  We are very much looking forward to attending and learning at the All Hands Gathering as well.