Fall is knocking. Cool nights make summer sleeping more bearable than the sweltering nights of July. Pantries are full of green beans, tomatoes, jams, jellies, and relishes and potatoes fill the darkest and coolest places of our homes. The onions rest drying waiting for their place in the larder. Plants left for seed are drying nicely in the field promising another season, another yield. Goldenrod, Ironweed, Queen Anne’s lace, and Wingstem beckon the pollinators, that we’ve relied on all season, to their flowers full of nutrition for the winter months.
Fall crops are taking their rotation to fill the hunger gap through the winter. Summer gardens are slowing down and the heaviest and slowest of crops are coming ready for harvest: pumpkins, winter squash, watermelon, and popcorn. One last push of preservation and we’ll be happy this winter, filling our bellies with our homegrown goodies.
Amidst the satisfaction of a summer well spent, the Grow Appalachia family is busy with plans for next year. Asking ourselves, how can we do better, how can we help more people and in better ways? What went well, what didn’t go well? How can we stretch our resources and grow more food?
Of these questions, the most important has been, why do we need this program? The answers may be obvious, but it is necessary to consider and vital to ask of our participants. So, we did just that. We asked our participants, “why does our community need a Grow Appalachia program?”. You can find their responses here: ASD Testimonials.
Based on the responses from our participants our mission is clearly being met, seeing more Appalachians grow as much of their own food as possible. However, the most beautiful aspect is that everyone gets there through their own path like:
- Learning to grow food
- Learning to grow organically
- Learning to eat well
- Knowing their neighbors
Enjoy their stories and keep on keeping on. This is good and important work to help transform our community’s engagement and relationship with their food. Whether your folks are growing hundreds of pounds of food or thousands of pounds of food every seed that yields is vital to a new food economy. The photos below were submitted by our families and community gardeners.