The Scott County Grow Appalachia program 2021 has experienced an exciting launch for the 2021 launch. While 2020 offered unique struggles, 2021 is seeing a hopeful and enthusiastic group of participants expressing their anticipation. This season we have seen our largest group to date, with 69 families and 6 community gardens. Adding to the excitement is that 86% of our 2021 participants are new gardeners. Our team of volunteers are as excited as I am to jump into this year’s growing season. We are looking forward to providing encouragement, supplies and education to our 2021 participants. Adding a joyful and refreshing aspect to this year’s program are junior growers attending the meetings (if only we could siphon off some of that energy for ourselves). I know that little Evelee and Roxanna are very excited about getting in the garden with their families.
New to our program this year is our Youtube channel. All in-person classes will observe Covid safety protocols and will be recorded and posted online. This will allow our participants to still receive valuable information and educational opportunities while still maintaining social distance as they are comfortable. We fill having a YouTube channel for viewing will benefit these gardeners and hopefully other new gardeners.
This first meeting allowed the opportunity to introduce team members and provide contact information to all participants to enable them to reach out with questions and concerns to the appropriate person. History of The Grow Appalachia program was also discussed and community impacts were shared. It is inspiring to be part of a program that has helped Appalachia families become more food and financially secure. In 12 years, GA participants have grown over 500 million pounds of organic produce and have sold over 1 million dollars of organic at local farmers markets. Doug Stephens talked about McCreary County KY farmer market opening in mid-May and invited all participants participate. Teressa Honeycutt shared about Scott County TN farmers market GA participants were invited to attend the planning meeting scheduled March 2.
Tracie Goodman the UK extension agent presented a PowerPoint about how to collect soil samples and the importance of this. Sean Tormoehlen, Scott County’s new UT ag agent also spoke about collecting soil samples. This PowerPoint will be emailed to all participants for reference. Doug Stephens talked about seed starting and each participant received seed starting trays. Kathleen Moore Gave all participants a binder to grow with education as the year progresses. She also collected a lot of paperwork and garden drawings from which we talked about garden planning.
Seed Sorting day! An anticipated and fun day by all the volunteers involved. Our volunteers happily sorted lettuce seed, carrot seed, peas eggplant and herb seeds. “Kennebec”, “Yukon gold” and “red” potatoes have been received. Onion sets will be received soon, then potatoes and onions will be sorted for distribution to our participants on March 18.
Lots of door prizes were won. Seed starting trays, water hoses, hand tools. Garden gloves, seed starting buckets, garden bags, and carry all bags, Also we have 6 participants who are suffering with COVID-19, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
This is un update on the raised bed/low tunnel at Scott Christian Care Center. The families who use the food pantry have really benefited from the harvest.