John Paul began collaborating with Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, to develop a program that would both meet needs and leverage existing community strengths. Director David Cooke—a West Virginia native, a lifelong gardener, and former WV extension agent—answered the call and has been responsible for developing the Grow Appalachia program and its partnerships ever since. John Paul’s ongoing generosity has allowed the Grow Appalachia program to impact the live of many thousands of Appalachian families.
Rather than apply a cookie cutter approach to nutrition based wellness, Grow Appalachia meets families where they live and addresses their specific needs. Some families need only help with tillage and fertilization. Some families need to start from scratch. Some elderly and disabled gardeners need help with the hard labor of preparing beds, planting and cultivation, and Grow Appalachia connects them with young people to enable them to keep food security at their own homes. We provide each family with what they need to succeed.