As we count down the last days of summer, I can’t help but smile thinking of our little program. We’ve had a year of transition and learning the rope of the program. While our program isn’t a new site to the Grow Appalachia program, the leadership is new to the program.

We recently held our last workshop of the program, where we discussed season extension, cold frames, and cover crops. I’m reminded of the good conversations that were had during this meeting. We sat and shared a meal, while discussing the program for 2023 and how we could improve in the coming year. One asset to our program has been the many participants who have been apart of the program the last four years. They have been valuable to me in helping me with so many little details and questions of the program. I look forward to the value they will bring to the program next year as we heard so many voice their desire to step into a mentoring role for new participants next year. It makes you feel like a proud parent when you see your program doing well, when you see your people doing well.

We continue to do garden visits with participants. It may be my favorite part of the program. It’s been a joy and at times a traveling adventure visiting participants and their back yard gardens.  You learn so much when you take time to slow down and meet people where they are.

Today I’m thankful for this program. I’m thankful for all the good that has been done within the program- neighbors sharing food with neighbors and people in need. I’m thankful for this new community and family I get to be apart of.

By: Heather Cook