Eryn Neyer is the new garden coordinator for the Linwood chapter of Grow Appalachia. I wanted to introduce her and share that you will get to read blogs from her in the future!
Tell me about your job with the WV Food and Farm Coalition and how it ties into Grow Appalachia.
I work for the WV Food and Farm Coalition as a Foodshed Coordinator. I help farmers and food- based businesses in 3 counties build reliant and resilient food systems. I’m partnered with Grow Appalachia through Food and Farm to help Steve with the operations of the Linwood high tunnel and community gardens. We’re working to help educate our community on the importance of growing their own food and becoming more self- sufficient.
What’s your background prior to this?
My background prior to this was in the Outdoor Recreation industry. For the past 3 years I had been working at Snowshoe as a Ski Instructor and took over Supervising their Pre-Ski Program and Kids Camp. I love anything outdoor related! I found my passion for the agriculture world when I was in college studying Ecotourism and Adventure Travel. I took a lot of classes studying plants, sustainability, and permaculture. We took a lot of class field trips to local farms in the area, and it really opened my eyes up to the different types of farming. From that point forward I’ve always dreamed of having my own little homestead operation one day.
What has been your favorite part of the Grow program?
My favorite part of the Grow program is getting to be involved in the community and a part of teaching them how to grow their own food. I also really enjoy learning how to grow food through organic practices.
What has been the greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge we’ve faced has by far been the weather. Our last frost here was May 31st, making it difficult to get plants in the ground early. Those that planted early or didn’t use a low tunnel ended up losing some plants in the last frost. We’ve also been dealing with a pretty bad flea beetle problem right now in the garden.
Are you very passionate about food insecurity? Do you see yourself being involved in food and farm issues in the future and if not, what do you think this might lead to for you?
Yes, I am very passionate about food insecurity. I feel that it’s vital for individuals to have easy access to healthy foods. So many food insecure households are faced with having to consume a highly processed diet, which isn’t healthy or sustainable over time. I do see myself being involved in food and farm issues in the future. This is just the start of me getting involved! 🙂
Are there any standout things that Linwood is doing that other Grow sites should know about?
Linwood has expanded their community gardens this year to two new locations. Offering more residents in Pocahontas County the opportunity to grow their own food. We also have an 11 year old in Green Bank with his own garden plot, it’s been a lot of fun getting to see Steve teach him his ways of farming. I think it’s important to get the youth involved and excited about gardening!
Is there anything else I should have asked you that you’d like the world to know?
Uhmm, not that I can think of!