Seventh annual Growing Appalachia gathering looks to help people save money and boost the local economy | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
Release Date: 
Monday, February 29, 2016
Press Contact: 
Bev May
KFTC member

Seventh annual Growing Appalachia gathering looks to help people save money and boost the local economy

Learning about ways to save and earn money through small-scale farming be the focus of the seventh Growing Appalachia Conference to be held March 5 in Prestonsburg.

The day-long conference will provide information and skills for healthier living and greater self-sufficiency. A variety of workshops to be offered include: Growing Berries and Brambles, Sustainable Timber and Forest Management, Starting a Vegetable Garden, Selling Arts and Crafts on Etsy and Food Hubs.

Food hubs allow a larger number of growers to efficiently supply large regional demand. The hubs take in the produce from several growers, sorting and packing it, then delivering it to end users such as restaurants, schools and hospitals.

“Growing Appalachia is an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in getting more out of their garden and also folks who may be thinking about expanding into farming or a new business,” said Bev May, one of the conference planners. 

One of the new workshops being offered this year focuses on Industrial Hemp. Kentucky once was the country's top producer of this versatile crop, and helped to generate fiber for rope, clothing and other uses in the World War II era. It became illegal because of its similar appearance to marijuana, and it is now becoming legal again though it is carefully regulated. Workshop participants can learn about local projects to jumpstart the hemp economy in eastern Kentucky through new and innovative uses of this crop, and how one can be a part of these efforts.

During lunch participants will hear from a group of folks in Letcher County working to make local foods more accessible to everyone while supporting local growers through a farmers market, farm to school program and healthy eating initiative with health care providers.

“Each year I've gotten lots of useful garden tips, learned strategies for saving energy and been encouraged to see how many new small farms and creative businesses are starting up right here at home,” added May, who is attending for the seventh year.

Growing Appalachia is sponsored by the Big Sandy Chapter of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth with Community Farm Alliance, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Floyd County Farmer's Market, Grow Appalachia Cowan Community Center, St. Vincent Mission and Appalachian Roots.

It will take place on Saturday, March 5 from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Jenny Wiley Convention Center. The conference is free, but a $10 donation is requested. Pre-registration is appreciated so that there will be enough food for lunch.

Register online at or by calling 606-263-4982.


KFTC is a grassroots social justice organization.