Grow Appalachia

The Appalachian Community Gardening and Food Security Project

Sponsored by John Paul DeJoria

In early 2009 the development office at Berea College received a phone call from an individual who was interested in helping families in the Appalachian mountains grow more of their own food. This gentleman was Tommy Callahan, Senior Vice President of Training and Development, John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS). Tommy was inquiring on behalf of John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and CEO of JPMS. John Paul, as a businessman who had surmounted enormous odds in the process of building a very large business organization, is a man who believes strongly that, “Success not shared is failure.” Among his many other philanthropic activities he had tackled the problem of hunger head on in Africa. Over time he had come to believe that it was time to address hunger and food security issues in the US. Tommy, John Paul’s long time business associate, is from Harlan County, Kentucky, one of the Commonwealth’s distressed counties, and has a deep sensitivity towards the challenges that face Appalachian families every day.

The basic purpose of Grow Appalachia is to teach and support the people of Appalachia in addressing the tragedy of hunger in the region by learning to grow their own food to feed themselves.

First Year Results


These pictures from the field show many of the gardens and participants from the 2010 program.


Participating families and volunteers created these multimedia productions during the 2010 growing season.

  • PlaceStories

Second year grant approved

Mr. DeJoria has generously funded Grow Appalachia for the second year. This allows expansion to seven nonprofit partners in fourteen counties of four states. Over 250 families will take part this year.

Grow Appalachia on the Web