Growing Appalachia 2011

Growing Appalachia Conference 2011

The 2011 Growing Appalachia conference featured day of workshops and conversations about small-scale farming, sustainable forestry, and clean energy solutions that can benefit the land and people in eastern Kentucky.

List of workshops

Growing your own gourmet mushrooms – Tim Hensley, Forest Retreats – Participants will be introduced to best practices for growing your own edible mushrooms, including Shiitake and Oyster varieties. This workshop will feature a demonstration of inoculating logs and provide tips about care and harvesting of home-grown mushrooms. The session may also provide advice about wild mushroom gathering, as well as lessons learned about what it takes to develop a local market for  selling gourmet mushrooms.

What it takes to get your farm certified organic in Kentucky – Ronald Bruno, Holy Mountain Farm – This workshop will walk us through the certification process for Kentucky farmers, including the benefits of organic certification for production and marketing, documentation, regulations and getting ready for inspection.

How to get a community garden or community orchard going – Robert Grueninger, Sustainable Morehead – Come hear how growing food together can grow communities! Sustainable Morehead will share the history and future of their community garden projects, benefitting dozens of low-income families and communities. Learn how they got started, overcame challenges, and grew a community of sustainability through gardening. This is a great opportunity to learn how this model could take root in your community!

Community Supported Agriculture – David Wagoner, Three Springs Farm – This workshop will focus on what it takes to start a Community Supported Agriculture venture from the ground up. We’ll discuss strategies for attracting new customers, setting reasonable expectations for production, income and expansion. David will also discuss the role of livestock on small farms.

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Read a blog post about the day

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How$mart: An exciting new approach to home weatherization – Jeff Fugate, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development; Bruce Aaron Davis, Big Sandy Rural Electric Cooperative – Participants in this workshop will learn some basic tips and strategies for making our homes more energy efficient. We’ll also learn about an exciting new program offered by the Big Sandy Rural Electric Cooperative that allows customers to fix up leaky homes and pay for the upgrades over time with the money saved on their bills. Even if you aren’t an RECC customer, this workshop will provide a promising example ways utilities can help customers save money by saving energy.

Transition Town: Ideas for working as a community to build a healthier and more sustainable local economy – Vanessa Hall and Lisa Abbott, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth –  In this workshop we’ll learn about a process that many people around the world are using to develop local solutions that can help prepare communities for the rising costs of limited fossil fuels while benefitting the local economy, and reducing our impact on the environment and climate. And we’ll talk about what it could take to get something like this going here in our communities in eastern Kentucky.

Beginning gardening: tips and best practices – Suzanne Stumbo, University of Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service – This workshop will cover the basics of starting a small garden: choosing a good site, soil testing and preparation, easy first crops and preventing and controlling insects and diseases.

Local Adaptation for Self Protection – Wendell Berry, Henry County farmer and author – Join this workshop to examine the challenges of our current economy and the great need for diversification and local economic determination. Author and farmer Wendell Berry will discuss what it means to live in an imposed, one-enterprise economy, from one end of the river to the other. And he will share ideas about how a local farm and forest economy could develop and benefit local communities.

Putting solar energy solutions to work in Kentucky – Andy McDonald, Solar Energy Partnership – This workshop will discuss solar energy solutions – including systems used to heat hot water or generate electricity – that can work in eastern Kentucky and across our state. We will share some examples of solar solutions that are benefitting local families and businesses. And we will talk about the opportunity in Kentucky to create jobs and save and/or generate energy through solar energy production.

Extending the growing season: Hoop-Houses and Cold Frames – Shawn Wright, UK Department of Horticulture Extension Specialist – Join us in this workshop to learn about strategies for extending your garden or farm’s growing season, allowing you to get started earlier and continue harvesting even after the cold sets in. We will discuss what it takes to construct hoop-houses and cold frames and answer questions about how these strategies can help you get the most out of your garden.

Horse-drawn logging and Sustainable Forest Practices – Jason Rutledge of Healing Harvest Forest Foundation –  This workshop is an opportunity to learn about sustainable forest practices and perspectives, including Restorative Forestry, Ecological Capitalism, and worst-first tree selection. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about horse-drawn logging practices, based on Jason’s 30 years of experience living and working in the Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia.