Our June meeting was all about getting ahead of the abundance of the season! Food preservation is an important part of gardening – “putting food back” is a way to feed ourselves, our families, and our communities through the cold months. Canning is also an opportunity to connect with family and friends. My favorite thing about canning is sitting with my family and talking…and the food we have later in the year is a little reminder of our time together. Food is about more than calories, it is about connection. The process of food preservation offers an important opportunity for families and friends to enjoy “soul food”.
We gathered at the Leslie County Extension office with Vicki Boggs who instructed garden program participants on how to can salsa. Each participant received his or her choice of a food dehydrator or boiling water canner as well as a jar of the salsa they made on-site. I continue to be humbled by how much this group teaches me; we are truly a community.  As we move into the height of the season, I will be visiting folks in their gardens to learn more about how they are doing and offer any help or direct them to resources.  I have started a Facebook group (Thank you, Faye, for the idea) so that folks can enter real time harvest information.  We are certainly entering a very busy time of year, and I think having an online group will ensure better data.  I’m looking forward to our next meeting; we will begin Fall planting!