Travis Adkins here at Red Bird Mission, we had service week here on campus for some of our students at Red Bird Christian School on April 19th and 20th. We had a lot of fun planting strawberry plants in one of our raised beds. We also planted some tomato and pepper seeds in our green house.
We had our 2nd Grow Appalachia training “Garden Planting” on April 19th which was a huge success. We distributed strawberry and onion plants, Mountain Pride fertilizer and we handed out peck baskets for all of our Grow Appalachia members. (Plants and organic fertilizer was paid for through a food security grant.)
We took a tour of our kitchen here at Red Bird Christian School so they could show us the basic cleaning and preparation of using a big kitchen like our new commercial kitchen. They showed us things that we need to watch for like having our trash can and dirty rags container labeled correctly and make sure that it is visible for everyone to see what goes where.
We had a Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) training that we did on April 27th for our farmers that sale at the farmers market so they can accept the SFMNP checks that we distribute out to some of our seniors. The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) awards grants to States, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs. The SFMNP is administered by State agencies such as your State Department of Agriculture or Agency on Aging.
We have been building on a cold storage room (paid for through a GBGM Food Security Grant) for our farmers to use and it is coming together very well. Our Red Bird Work Camp have been working hard on getting it done before our first Farmers Market which is June 2nd. Thanks to work camp for making it possible for us to have this available by the dead line so our farmers will have something to store their crops they don’t sale at the market so they can have them the next weekend at the farmers market. Fresh fruits and vegetables start to deteriorate as soon as they are harvested because they are cut off from their source of water and nutrition. They lose weight, texture, flavor, nutritive value, and appeal. Cooling significantly slows down the rate of deterioration, thereby increasing the storage life of the produce. The cooler the temperature, the slower the deterioration and the longer the storage life. Much commercial produce is stored at temperatures just above that which will cause freeze damage to the product so that it can have the maximum possible shelf life (multiple weeks or even months) and be transported very long distances.
The Mennonite Central Committee SWAP (Sharing With Appalachia People) donated corn and miscellaneous seed.
We also had a meeting with some of the other coordinated sites that are building commercial kitchens on April 30th. We really enjoyed everyone coming out to see our kitchen “Red Bird Valley Kitchen” and catching up on everything we’ve done so far this year with the other coordinated sites, Candace Mullins and David Cook.