Growing Home Community Revival?

It’s never just food! It’s never just a garden!  It’s never just an Agriculture conference!

Cowan Community Action Group, Inc. is hosting a Regenerative Agriculture and Agroforestry gathering beginning Wednesday, July 26th through Saturday, July 29th, but it’s so much more!  Please join us.

When we recognized the date was the one year anniversary of the devastating floods, we knew we wanted to offer more than just an agriculture and growing conference.  We knew we wanted to recognize where our minds and memories would be during this one year anniversary and make space to honor and reflect on those moments.  We wanted to think of this as a time for growing and reflection.

We’ve been thinking and talking about this with other partners for a few months now and I’m sorry to say, it still isn’t pretty and wrapped up nicely to share.  It’s a first effort for an event this large for us, and we want to be so careful that we don’t overstep, step on, misstep or add any hurt to our neighbors and friends.  We recognize this is not ‘our’ event or experience, but we still want to carefully move forward with offering opportunities for communities to come together with and for each other.

At Cowan, we believe agriculture is at the root of healing and growing a stronger and healthier community. It is not all of the work, but an essential part of that work that can also serve as a path for healing– from the everyday healing in the ways it can help us manage stress and anxiety after a long day, or long term healing through life changes, transitions, disaster recovery, addiction recovery, and more. As gardeners and farmers, we know that you too know the healing that can come from working directly with the land and soil under our feet.

We also believe Art, Health and Agriculture go together.  AHA! We appreciate our partners in each of these areas and believe we are always stronger together.

We want to make room for conversations about regenerative agriculture and agroforestry. Many of you have been growing on hillsides for generations or have foraged in woods.  What if we were more intentional about that effort? What if there was support for landowners to make those transitions or develop those lands? We  don’t want to stop growing in bottom lands, but we also want to look at alternatives that leave us not so vulnerable to floods and extreme weather.  We want to connect you with growers who are having success with this both regionally and nationally.  We want to work to provide proof of concept that these agroforestry and regenerative agriculture techniques can work here and provide opportunities for others.  It’s happening here and we want to highlight it and support in scaling up.

So….what’s happening?   Sharing an overview for specific dates/times see link below.

Growing Home, a Community Revival Schedule

Growing Home Regenerative Agriculture Events Detailed Schedule

Agroforestry and Regenerative Agriculture

Woodland Growers Association Forum – Cowan and Letcher County Extension Office will be hosting a series of workshops, panels, and presentations that will provide opportunity for discussion and exploration about agroforestry  with local, regional and national presenters.

Martin County Strip Mine Tour Wednesday July 26th –  We will be visiting a former strip mine in Martin County to consider regenerative agricultural possibilities.

On Thursday July 27th, Growing Home will kick off with an overview of how the practices of agroforestry can be used for farming forested land in Eastern Kentucky, as well as that is being turned to forest. Workshops continue on Friday July 28th, with regional and state organizations support organizations available for community support. Free registration is available here Growing Home Registration Link

City of Whitesburg Farmers Market will have local growers and artisans set up, along with community organizations, free community meals provided by CANE Kitchen, live music, and activities. Markets are Thursday, 5pm-7pm. Saturday, 9am-1pm

Farm tours happening with local farmers on Saturday, July 29th from 3-5.  A time to visit with local growers, see their work, hear their concerns and dreams.

Community Planning and Conversations

Hemphill Community Center hosting events for Letcher County Culture Hub and Hands Across the Hills.

Black Sheep Bakery is hosting a pizza making and community converstation.

Save your town  is offering inspiration and support to local towns that would like to plan together for next steps.   Happening at Pine Mountain Grill on Wednesday from 12-3.

Farmers Market on Saturday, July 29th will host a Farmers and Growers Story Tent that will share the beautiful Farmer-to-Farmer Mutual Aid and network of support that grew to provide fresh produce to gardeners and farmers who lost their crops in the flood.

Brushy Fork will offer a Wellness Workshop at Pine Mountain Grill on Friday, July 28th from 1:30 -3:00.   Need some time for reflection, to intentionally step into a space where you can focus on yourself and how you’re doing?  Join others in taking a deep breath and intentional wellness.

SOAR Business training for local businesses on Friday.


HEAL Recovery Central

This event was scheduled for July last year, and had to be cancelled due to the floods.  This event recognizes the recovery not only from the flood, but focuses specifically on addiction recovery and all that are impacted by that. Activities happening on July 27th include:

Recovery Central March thru downtown Whitesburg at 4 pm

Recovery Central Resource fair at MCHC Campus and former WHS gym after the march

Community meal on site at CANE Kitchen at 5 pm

Recovery Central Presentation at Mountain Heritage Stage at 6 pm



Levitt Amp Whitesburg Music Series   July 27th w/ Senora May.

Levitt Amp Whitesburg Music Series   July 28th w/  Sundy Best.

City of Whitesburg Farmers Market     July 29th w/ Cornbread and Tortillas

City of Whitesburg Farmers Market     July 29th w/ Mudpuppies

Live Music at Black Sheep Bakery      July 29th 6pm-8pm




Be a part of community art making and reflection! Pick up an upcycled window from us this week, or join us at the Appalshop Solar Pavilion Moday, July 24th at 12pm, to paint a window that will be hung on display on the Craft Memorial Bridge during Growing Home.

Photographer will be available for free family portraits at Appalshop Solar pavilion Wednesday 6:30-9:30pm.  Come make new family keepsakes.

Artists Reflection and Reception happening on Friday, July 28th at 5 pm.  Windows will be displayed on the James Craft memorial bridge and artists available for conversation.

CANE Kitchen will be hosting an art exhibit featuring local and regional artworks from artists influenced by our community in the aftermath of the flood.

Farmers Market on Saturday will offer many opportunities for community art making including Jenn Noble making gourd instruments and an Instrument Petting Zoo with Pierceton Hobbs of Pick ‘n’ Bow.

Tear It Up, Talk it Out! Art Reflection with Angie DeBord at Pine Mountain Grill on Friday, July 28th.  This will be a time of conversation, story telling, and collage making in community.

Appalshop Archive at the 229 Main Street, the old Whitesburg Post office.  Exhibits of photos, audio, photographs, and other materials salvaged from the floods, featuring a live musical performance inspired by restored recordings, and film screenings of salvaged flooded films.  Thursday & Friday, 9-5.


Flood Reflection

Documenting Farmer Flood Recovery at Pine Mountain Grill.  Talk with local writers, media makers, and artists who collected stories from local farmers who were impacted by the flood.  Happening Thursday, from 1-3 @ Pine Mountain Grill.

Appalshop will be screening a premier of their documentary, All is Not Lost, at the solar pavilion on Wednesday at 9:30.

Rural Strategies online film screening and conversation with film makers Dee Davis and Mimi Pickering on their documentary, East Kentucky Flood.


Kids on the Creek happening at Cowan Community Center with activities for youth Thursday & Friday 9am-3pm.

Breakfast with Betsy @ Pine Mountain Grill, Friday 8-10.  Youth Entrepreneurship training with Besty Whaley of Mountain Association and Young Food Leaders from Berea Kids Eat, High Rocks, and Cowan Community Center.

Followed by Stories from Young Food Leaders @ Pine Mountain Grill. Hear all about how our young growers and makers have engaged with social entrepreneurship this summer.

Mediterranean Dance Class @ Cowan Community Center.


GOVERNOR Beshear Visits CANE Kitchen

Friday, July 28th at noon, Governor Beshear will be visiting to share thoughts and reflections with community.  We will take time to highlight special organizations and individuals who served as Mountain Legends when we needed our neighbors most.  A community meal will be available on site at CANE Kitchen and all are invited to name a Mountain Legend by nominating here- Mountain Legend 


This feels good to put this all in one place and I’m still sure I’ve forgotten details. The Agroforestry and Regenerative Agriculture is still another schedule that we will be adding asap.  It’s all growing, it’s weedy and it isn’t perfect. Throughout this planning process we’ve had to remind ourselves that as we work on Growing Home, all growing starts with a tiny seed. It is our best effort to share community with you, provide time to gather and appreciate all that we are and all that we can be.

If you would like to join us, we welcome you here.  We will find time to connect and discuss what matters. We want to share this time with you within our community, and would love your company and support.

If you have plans that you would like to have included and promoted here, please let us know and we would be happy to add and support your work.

We would like to recognize and appreciate sponsors who have contributed to this event.  Appreciation to Horne, LLC and Ashbritt Inc.

We would like to thank and recognize many of the partner organizations who have been planning, creating, and collaborating with us these past months –

Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, HEAL, Partners for Rural Impact, Community Farm Alliance, Mountain Association, USDA, Letcher County Extension Office, CANE Kitchen, City of Whitesburg Farmers Market, Pine Mountain Partners, Letcher County Community Foundation, Appalshop, Letcher County Public Schools, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Grow Appalachia, Regenerative Agriculture, Appalachian Renewal Project, Kentucky State University, Robertson Scholars, Blackey Community Center, Letcher County Tourism and more to come when I lay may head to sleep and pray our friends to keep.

Please see the complete schedule online that is linked below for a listing of events, locations and times.

Growing Home, a Community Revival Schedule