Hey everyone! Kayla here, just dropping in to share a story of a unique and educational experience Ive recently had working for Grow Appalachia. Earlier this week I spent a wonderful 3 days in between two beautifully tree covered mountains in Eastern Kentucky at the Hindman Settlement School teaching a group of college students how to build a small season extension high tunnel through a service learning course. In partnership with the settlement school and 3 different university agriculture programs, my crew and I were given the pleasure to teach 15 students (and some professors) how we build a high tunnel, “Grow Appalachia style”. Students from The University of Kentucky, The University of Minnesota and Kansas State University spent a day and a half with us in the field learning, hands-on, how to build a high tunnel and proper site selection skills before the initial construction. Tasks like leveling ground posts and hip boards, using power tools, building a door frame to pulling the main sheet of plastic were demonstrated and then performed by the students.

This makes the 3rd high tunnel construction workshop I have taught and brings one of the biggest joys in my life. Working as a team, building skills while building a structure that will soon provide produce for the local community is so powerful to me and makes me feel proud to be expanding our veggie-lovin’ food growin’ family! The tunnel will soon be planted in raised beds and will provide vegetables for the kitchen on site for community meals. This tunnel is right next to Hindman’s other (larger) high tunnel that produces a bountiful crop of tomatoes and peppers! Im so excited to see the abundance that this season extension tunnel will yield! Here’s to all the farmers, growers, coordinators and builders that made this magical dream come true!

Thanks and I hope everyone has a great summer!