Welcome to the first blog post for Grow Appalachia Upper Ohio Valley 2021!

Phoebe here to bring you news from Marshall County, the bottom of the four WV Northern Panhandle counties.

While I am a native to the region who tells “outsiders” not to underestimate the culture and diversity within Appalachia, the unincorporated community of New Vrindaban was beyond my wildest expectations. Nestled in the rolling hills of Marshall County, WV, New Vrindaban is an ISKCON intentional community founded in the late 1960’s. Five of our families participating in the Grow Appalachia program live within the community. Each of these families have different needs and are located in different parts of the 1200 acres within the unincorporated area. There is a sense here of returning to the communal aspects of agrarian living.

The Seven Gates Reopen

In the former 7 Gates Garden, a young family is planning on tackling a 20×60 garden plot that has been out of commission for some time. This space was originally intended as a homestead. It was designed to have housing surrounding the fence and have 7 access gates to the garden. 

(Re) Breaking Ground

There are two families in different apartment complexes that are planning to try out their green thumbs. These apartments house 14 families each, both have 15x 25 spaces that have already been used for gardens in previous seasons. While there is going to be a designated family in charge of both of these sites, the hope is to encourage other residents to grow their own harvest.

Sowing Future Seeds

 In addition to the apartment complex gardens, a teacher at the community homeschool co-op enlisted some help to build raised beds in the schoolyard. The intention of creating the space is to add more gardening to the curriculum. Additional beds have been created with the hope that families of the students will start their own garden. All the gardens mentioned have already added manure to the worked up beds that used 2 tine garden forks to break up the topsoil. There is also a cow sanctuary on the property where families are able to use the manure being produced for their gardens. 

Spring Has Sprung

With spring just around the corner, visiting this cluster of families has us here at Grow Ohio Valley excited to get out in the field to help the rest of y’all kick off the grow season. We’re so happy that these community members of New Vrindaban joined us for our pilot year!