Having recently moved to a climate zone several degrees warmer than my home state, I have been appreciating the spring in SW Virginia and NE Tennessee and sharing that joy with our participants this year at Appalachian Sustainable Development. The sun is warm, the trees are blooming, and we are getting our cool season crops in the ground!

We are in a period of transition here at ASD in a lot of ways, but we certainly haven’t let that slow us down. One of my main goals this season is to not only develop a sense of community among participants, but also to expand the opportunities they have to become successful market gardeners. We distributed tools and seeds to new and returning growers in April. This coming week our tilling service will be making the rounds to those who need it – it has been a bit too wet to get out before now. We also have our Summer Distribution Day coming up in May. We will be providing more supplies as well as some beautiful tomato and pepper transplants grown at local greenhouses.

Our first group information session is scheduled for the first week of May. We will be going over garden planning, soil quality, intercropping, and more. I am excited about potential opportunities to bring in connections between gardening, environment, and community. I believe that having been through a very difficult time in this pandemic, the community is ripe for building lasting relationships and a local food network.

All our participants, especially our new growers, have been ecstatic about this opportunity and what is yet to come this growing season! Returning gardeners are excited about their garlic harvest and expanding their gardens. I have to say, I have never met a group of people so eager to get their hands in the soil!

-Morgan Bradley, Appalachian Sustainable Development