Here in Southwest Virginia, it looks as though we are in the clear to get all sorts of plants in the ground (fingers crossed)! In the Grow Your Own program, we held our planting workshop in Glade Spring, Virginia with Creative Seeds Farm, a local farm specializing in lettuce and greens. We also held a workshop at Appalachian Sustainable Development’s YMCA garden in Tazewell, Virginia. Feedback from attendees really showed that providing information on both indoor and outdoor seeding is useful for people. Talking about starting seeds is always an exciting moment in the year! It is always helpful to meet people doing the work participants hope to, and doing it successfully.
Another exciting venture we are entering is working with the Knox Pride Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. This small organization (that does a TON of work) installed a raised garden bed to help with community food security in South Knoxville with plans to expand to ten additional garden beds, a permaculture area, storage, outdoor cleaning stations, and more next year. Knoxville has large areas categorized as “food deserts” and this community garden will help address this by providing free, easy to use, recognizable crops. The plan is to also include workshops similar to those in Grow Your Own to help people preserve and cook food healthily as well as how to start a market garden for those interested.
Though it’s still early, we planted both warm and cool weather crops in Knoxville and are keeping our hopes up that it doesn’t get too cold again. Being new to this climate, I’m always up for experimenting with timing and crop types! Appalachian Sustainable Development is serious about expanding access to healthy food, sustainable growing methods, and increasing equity. We are, as they say, “putting our money where our mouth is” through Grow Your Own and our other various programs.
We have a LOT of excited participants in Grow Your Own this year. It is always inspiring to hear stories from people about how they helped with their grandmother’s garden as a kid and want to get back into it, either for themselves or for their own children and grandchildren. We are getting our grips for a year of awesome harvests, workshops, and connections!