June Is Kids Month

Summer in Kentucky
The summer solstice has arrived and its officially summer here in Appalachia! It’s time to enjoy our hills and valleys, get reacquainted with all the wonders found in Kentucky by exploring our own backyards, traveling the trails in the woods, fishing our waterways, all the while supporting our state parks and the local small businesses that surround them with short weekend trips.

Owsley County Summer
It is still cooler than usual and working out to be a very dry year here in Owsley County. The signs from Mother Nature are everywhere if you know where to look. The yards and fields are filled with clover. The creeks and rivers are running low, and the fish are staying in the deeper waters. The first cutting of hay has yields that are at least a third below last year, pinning lots of hope on the fall curing. The garden plants are growing but are now just waiting for soaking all night rains to replenish the water table.

Kids and Farming
Kids and farming have been the focus here in Owsley County for June with all the ag programs working together. Our families have been getting the kids into the garden. The local farmers market hosted a Kids Market Day that launched a series of events to take place during the 2023 market season that will provide the community and children with educational activities for the market season.

Kids Day At the Market
The Owsley County Farmers Market held Kids Market Day (sponsored by Jackson Energy) at a special time to host the kids so they could have an opportunity to explore the market while completing STEM activities that focused on real world farm and business-related activities with each vendor. The kids had the time to ask questions and get to know the vendors. There were discussions and questions about ag science, math, business models, food sampling and crafting projects going on all over the market!

FFA Involvement with Kids Day At The Market
The Owsley County Future Farmers of America Chapter (FFA) got involved in the Kids Market Day by volunteering to guide small groups and assist the vendors in carrying out the activities. The FFA kids had the opportunity to further their knowledge and skills by learning about sales and promotion for a small business from the vendors. The vendors answered lots of questions about how to develop displays and advertise, how to determine pricing and how to determine which products are good sellers. We want to thank all of our vendors for participating in Kids Market Day and hope to make it an annual event: Allie’s Handmade Accessories, Bishop Farm, Crafted by Lindberg, Double J, Gabbard Farm, Happy Hens Homestead, LLC, H & S Crafting, Lawson Farm!

Community Gardens
The Community Gardens and Farm to School crops have kept our families and kids who help with the community gardens very busy this month. They are traveling to the home gardens to help do some larger projects like helping to put up posts and animal netting to keep the critters out of the crops, setting up irrigation and weed control while the crops get established. The Farm to School fields are as clean as a whistle. The home gardens are set up for a successful crop yield.

Gardening Goals
Before we know it, June will fade into the dog days of summer while we wait for the vegetable harvesting phase to begin. We hope the memories and skills our kids have made will remain and the memories and methods will also be harvested and put to use at a later time by the kids themselves. A skill such as gardening may lay dormant for many years but can be pulled back out and used many years later. Our hope is that the kids have had a summer of discovery that includes: a love for the Earth, a knowledge of gardening, more healthy nutritional knowledge, satisfaction with growing their own food, a method of easing stress, a connection to the Earth and Appalachia and the sense of independence that comes with it, no matter where they live or what career path they choose.