Happy Spring, folks.
I’m glad to have Wise County back in the Grow Appalachia fold again. We did some community garden development back in 2014, but now we’re working with twenty families in developing or expanding their home gardens. We’ll be continuing the community gardens as well (quite possibly with some financial support from a local health organization).
I believe the theme for the last few months would be “Things have a way of falling into place.” Our most successful community gardener went through our Master Gardener program last fall and then expressed an interest in helping make the community gardens better. She’s now the chair of a community garden association we started. Her passion for local food security is strong, and she’s already proven to be a valuable asset to the program. She’s developed an informational flyer and gotten it printed by UVA-Wise and has been distributing those all around the three community garden sites and has been leading the charge on identifying new opportunities for funding and development.
Overseeing the Grow Appalachia projects this year are committee members representing the Southwest Virginia Master Gardeners, the Wise-Dickenson Farm Bureau Young Farmers, The Pound Action Committee and the Wise County Christian School.
We held our first Garden Planning meeting on February 7, but it wasn’t well-attended, and that was a slight discouragement. But the All-Hands Gathering came on the heels of that, and with two pages of notes and lots of inspiration, we combined Garden Planning and Garden Planting for a March 7 meeting and had seventeen adults and three children present. More have joined the ranks since.
Our group has been excited about the Replenish fertilizer and the Mauro Seed donations. We armed all the participants with soil thermometers as well, and they’ve been comparing and contrasting trap hoes and scuffle hoes to decide which suits them better.
I’m especially excited about the diverse group we have enrolled in the program this year, from an 80+ year old community gardener to a 15-year-old high school student to a young culinary school graduate who just moved back to this county. Our participants are in Big Stone Gap, Wise, Norton and Pound.
So as we continue to plow forward into the season, things are looking hopeful in Wise County. It’s going to be a great season.