Hi, This is Justin at the Red Bird Mission Grow Appalachia. We are well into the new year and spring will be here before we know it. We have been busy recruiting new members for 2016, getting all the necessary paper work from them, scheduling meetings for months to come, and trying to plan out the year to be successful.
I don’t know about everyone else but the snow has put a damper on one of our plans for winter time. We planned on rebuilding our green house for the third time. Every time we get it up and going a natural disaster comes and wipes it out, but we still have plenty of time to get built and in production so the community and our members can get in and start some plants from the heirlooms they have been keeping.
We done a end of the year survey with our 2015 members and we had some interesting results. Over half of the members reported that they shared their gardening methods/skills they learned from Grow Appalachia with an average of five people. I’m glad to see that people are learning good life skills and sharing them with others. In the seed saving and preserving section of the survey over half of our member have saved seeds to plant next year. The most popular method of preserving was a tie between freezing and canning at 78%. I really though that most people were more in to freezing everything now days, but we still have a lot of people that do it the old fashion way. Only 30% dried some of there harvest. 34% of the members sold food from their gardens and the rest just gave it away to help others. The number of members that was signed up on their county extension news letter was terribly low. So we took action and got every one signed up on the news letter. We believe after our members are out of the Grow Appalachia program that the news letters will be a great source of information for them about gardening and other skills so they can continue to learn and prosper. In the survey we asked what every ones favorite crop was to eat and grow. The favorite for our bunch of Appalachia farmers was beans and corn which is my favorite too.
I know all of us here at Red Bird are excited to get out in the fields and do some work. Wish ever one good luck on the new growing season.