Week July 11-July 15, 2011
Thanks to Pine Mountain Settlement, I have been inspired to plan a GROW Appalachia and Heifer International Community Picnic. This would invite GROW Appalachia and Heifer International participants to bring a dish containing something from their garden or an animal product. I know that one of the goals of GROW Appalachia has been to establish that sense of community that has recently been missing in the Appalachian community. The current generation lacked a sense of ability to rely upon each other for assistance in each others' gardens compared to older generations. I saw that Chad Brock, the field technician at Red Bird Mission for GROW Appalachia, was more than willing to spend his time assisting the gardeners but we also believed that the gardeners should be able to share experiences and methods with each other. Also, if one of them needed a hand, they knew they could count on each other for help. Therefore, this picnic would bring everyone together and hopefully inspire the staff to make this an annual event.
There is nothing better to bring a community together than food and hard work. It is going to be an amazing night full of softball, cornhole, BINGO, insightful conversation and some delicious food. Hopefully this event will bring together GROW Appalachia participants located within 80 to 85 miles from Red Bird Mission main campus. I would also like to bring together a cookbook full of garden recipes from the GROW Appalachia and Heifer International participants that I can either, put together and give out to the participants or be able to sell as a GROW Appalachia fundraiser. Another aspect that should attract participants to this event, are the prizes that can be won from playing BINGO. Prizes would be available to all age groups and have been donated by Community Partners including Red Bird Mission, GROW Appalachia, Red Bird Crest Farm, and Bettina Balmer.
Another event that will be occurring at the Red Bird Mission for GROW Appalachia participants and other interested community members is a class on 4 Season Gardening taught by me, Magan Meade. I have been researching this topic since I arrived to Red Bird Mission. To potentially feed families throughout the whole year, is very exciting. We are currently trying to implement a 4 season garden at Red Bird that includes cold frames, greenhouses, and plastic covered tunnels. Surprisingly, people don’t realize how easy it is to extend the summer gardening season into the fall. This includes sowing seeds every two weeks, rotating crops, and planting a variety for the same crop (because different varieties are harvested at different times). The 4 Season Gardening class will be held on July 28th in the Cramer Room on the Red Bird Mission main campus. I hope to inspire GROW Appalachia participants to continue harvesting the whole year versus during just the summer.
Speaking of harvests, it has been a narrow show up of sellers for the GROW Appalachia, Red Bird Mission’s Farmers’ Market. I noticed that a lot of people did not participate in the market because they were beginning to can and store their summer’s harvest. On Saturday, July 16th, Chad and his mother sold gigantic banana peppers, ripened green zucchini, and freshly picked green beans. Within the first hour, the green beans had sold out. I believe beans are a largely favored crop throughout Kentucky. You can put those bad boys in a crock pot and cook them in some butter, ham, potatoes, and water overnight, yummy. There is a huge demand for fresh produce but not enough sellers to go around. This backs up the current demand to be in the GROW Appalachia for next year. These next couple of weeks will be exciting times for the GROW Appalachia program due to the Four Season Gardening class, the community picnic, and much more!