The four program partners, detailed below, are all currently involved in gardening programs in their communities. With one exception, they have all been crucial parts of their community fabric for decades and have enormous credibility. Crippling funding constraints on rural development have seriously impeded the institutions’ ability to reach further into the communities, although all four are very enthusiastic about the prospects of having the resources to do so. Recruitment numbers are conservative and realistic.
All partners are committed to the following:
- Identifying and organizing a diverse group of local families to receive assistance and support to create and maintain productive and economical home gardens.
- Providing educational programs to share the most efficient and up-to-date information about
gardening, cooking for maximum nutrition, and food preservation techniques. This will allow the most cost-effective and healthful use of produce.
- Using grant -funded soil working equipment to help families till and prepare gardens for initial spring planting and maintain garden plots through the garden season. They will also distribute needed hand tools for productive use of families’ time as well as seeds, plants, fertilizers, soil conditioners, soil testing, and educational materials for each family. Ecosystem friendly, organic, sustainable techniques will be emphasized at every turn. Each year will see an increase in the health of the soil and the land’s capacity to provide for the people of the mountains.
- Working with families to help establish local farmers’ markets for vegetables produced in excess of families’ needs.
- Reintroducing to mountain youth the skills of food production, processing, and direct marketing, reinforcing the value of self reliance and a hard work ethic.
Partner Organizations and program goals
Loyal Jones Appalachian Center (LJAC)
Berea College, Berea, Kentucky
The LJAC will provide fiscal sponsorship and oversight of funds, coordinate trainings among all partners, serve as a liaison for all other partners (Berea College Agriculture Department, University of Kentucky Extension Service and others) and continue to develop additional partners for 2011 and beyond. The LJAC will also assist in the purchasing of hardware and supplies to secure best market prices.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS)
Bledsoe, Kentucky — Harlan, Letcher and Perry counties
The PMSS will work with 20 families and their personal gardens and will provide additional community garden space at the School’s headquarters as well as develop a plan to take the program to local schools. The potential number of people to be fed is 60 to 120.
Red Bird Mission (RBM)
Beverly, Kentucky — Bell, Clay and Leslie counties
RBM will work with 25 families and their personal gardens. They will also provide community garden space at Red Bird School to involve 40 youth from the area who will take the produce home to share with their families and other local residents who are unable to garden. These youth will be part of a structured summer youth development program that includes a summer feeding program, a crucial component in Appalachian communities where some school children’s primary source of nutrition is their school. These young people would bring impact to families who are not initially involved in the undertaking and will serve as recruiters for following years’ expansion. The potential number of people to be fed is 120 to 240.
Henderson Settlement (HS)
Frakes, Kentucky — Bell County, Kentucky. and Claiborne County, Tennessee
HS will work with 30 families and their personal gardens. Like the previous two partners they will also provide community garden space at the School’s headquarters and emphasize cooperation with an ongoing gardening, greenhouse and farming operation at the Settlement. The potential number of people to be fed is 90 to 180.
Laurel County African American Heritage Center (LCAAHC)
London, Kentucky — Laurel and Knox counties
While focusing on outreach in a mixed- race community and focusing on 25 younger families (many of whom have no recent history of gardening in their families) this program will also work with 10 youth who will work a common garden space and then marketing the produce at a local farmers market. These young people would bring impact to families who are not initially involved in the enterprise and will serve as recruiters for future expansion. Working in communities of 600 (London, Laurel County) and 3600 (Barbourville, Knox County), the LCAAHC is the most “urban” of the four programs. The potential number of people to be fed is 90 to 180.