Central, West Virginia
Step by Step is proud to introduce the Grow Appalachia family to our partners in the central West Virginia counties who have joined the movement in 2017. Over a year ago we had interest from the WV Development office in supporting an expansion of the Grow Appalachia model in West Virginia.
Given the challenging funding world we soon focused on the counties considered distressed in the central part of our state: Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Roane, Webster, Wirt are clustered in the center of our state and have been deemed distressed or at risk for years.
At the Try This conference in June we put out the word that we hoped to expand the program and soon had partners from across that region: extension agents, master gardener groups, farm to school folks, and people working to preserve summer food programs. We also got pledges from several existing Grow App sites—Mingo, Logan, Lincoln and Pocahontas counties—to serve as mentors and coaches.
We are also very excited to introduce our new coordinator for this site, Bob Gregory of Berea Gardens. Bob has established his own farm, adjacent to a former elementary school that they have secured as a training facility. His trainings in organic gardening have been attended by growers from 47 states and “all six inhabited continents.” Here is a link to the week long trainings opportunities: http://www.bereagardens.org/school.html
The project has already secured a Try This mini grant, a slot to recruit for a VISTA (who would be supervised and have the opportunity to learn from Bob and the Berea Gardens team). We look forward to seeing you all at the all hands gathering next month.