Grow Sustinab-LEE is kicking into full gear again this spring for our third season of garden grants in Lee County, Virginia.  We have had quite a surge in participation this year, to the point where we took on extra participants and still have a waiting list for people to get into the program.  I am hopeful that this is a sign that people are starting to understand the value of growing their own food without the use of harsh chemicals.

Grow Sustainab-LEE is a wonderful opportunity for people in Lee County Virginia who may need supplemental assistance getting their gardens started.  We value hard work and curiosity about how to improve gardening skills.  That is one of the things I, as the grant administrator, love about this program.  We are here to provide learning support and—most importantly—education for gardening organically.

“Traditional” gardening is still the primary way that people garden in these parts, but we must make a change if we want to continue to work the land sustainably.  This is where organic gardening comes in.  Overuse of pesticides and chemicals is not good for our land, our bodies, or our pollinators.  Without pollinators, we will eventually not have food.  Something like three out of four bites of food we eat is thanks to our pollinators.  Using pesticides, even if they are meant for killing pests, often takes out the pollinators as well.  So, if we learn anything from this program, I hope it is how to garden without harming the Earth more than we help it.

For those who may not know about the program, Grow Sustainab-LEE helps gardeners in Lee County, Virginia, and the surrounding areas by providing tools, seeds, plants, services, and education in gardening organically.  As previously mentioned, this will be our third season of gardening with a Grow Appalachia Garden Grant through Berea College.  We were blessed this season with 26 participants and a waitlist.  Hopefully, this means good things for the program and in future years, maybe the program can expand.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve our community and to hopefully make a difference in the quality of fresh, healthy food grown locally and organically.