LOGAN — In an age of food deserts, obesity and convenience foods, a counter-movement which advocates home gardening and places a high value on locally grown food has spread across the country.
For the last three years, that movement has been represented in Logan and Lincoln counties by Grow Appalachia.
Grow Appalachia is a non-profit community initiative funded by a grant from the hair care company Paul Mitchell.
In furtherance of their goal of spreading healthy, sustainable agriculture, the group is currently taking applications for their 2017 program.
Bea Sias, with Grow Appalachia, explained everything an aspiring gardener would need to grow their own produce is provided for free.
Farmers in the program are given with shovels, hoes, fertilizer, seeds and host of other implements.
Sias stressed the program is open to everyone regardless of income saying the organization focuses only on providing fresh, organic produce to the people of the area.
Farmers in the program attend a series of workshops taught by seasoned gardeners which help teach them how to maximize yields, deter pests and preserve food through canning.
All food grown in the Grow Appalachia program is organic, and farmers who wish to sell their food for personal profit are encouraged to do so.
Sias reported that, in 2014, the Logan County Grow Appalachia project produced 15,000 pounds of produce.
In 2015, farmers with the group produced over 19,000 pounds of food — a more than 25 percent increase.
In 2016, however, the group reportedly broke the mold producing a staggering 41,000 pounds of organic produce.
Anyone interested applying or learning more about Grow Appalachia can contact Bea Sias at 304-896-5000.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]