Orchards of Hope:
High School Students Plant Trees
on Food Day
Orchards of Hope brings fruit trees into public spaces, school grounds, county parks and wellness centers in Alleghany County, NC. This project enables residents of the community to pick and consume fresh fruit. In honor of National Food Day, the Appalachian Agriculture Coalition led high school students in planting fruit trees at the Moxley Road Community Garden site.
This year, nearly 8,000 farmers markets have connected farmers to consumers across the United States. That’s double the number from a decade ago, and it’s a number that depends on an increasing nationwide preference for fresh food. In fact, 68 per cent of Americans say they eat more fresh food than they did five years ago, according to a study from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For many, the source of much of that food—and perhaps the source of that shift in habits—is a local farmers market.
The Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Grayson LandCare: Discovery/Creation of Sustainable Ways of Life and Leadership for the Future
The question “what shall we do about it?”
is only asked by those who do not
If a problem can be solved at all,
to understand it and to know what to do about it
are the same thing.
I. The Challenge
In the face of unprecedented environmental, economic, and social changes, too frequently our understandings and responses fail to achieve desired and necessary results. A lack of clarity about how to keep up with the dynamic of the present, much less step confidently into the future, has left communities, commercial enterprises, states, and nations confused. Often they are badly divided as to the nature of the forces contributing to their distresses and about potential remedies that might offer relief.
Discovering what must be done in each locale to achieve sustainable, resilient landscapes, watersheds, communities, businesses, and governments is only half the challenge. Finding ways to implement necessary and beneficial change at sufficient scale and to sustain it through time is work that must engage all present and future generations. Virginia Tech has an important and exciting opportunity/responsibility for leadership in exploration of existing and emergent needs and the means to meet them.
For a major land grant university like Virginia Tech, the challenge is complicated. Institutions of higher learning have specific momentum as a result of having succeeded in devising improved understandings, technologies, and management systems with tight focus on a limited number of interests. Investment in research and development by discipline has been rewarded as a result of success in expanding our understandings of new worlds unanticipated and unimagined just a few short years ago. Genetic engineering, nanotechnology, information technology, sub-atomic physics, and marketing have increased human capacity to manipulate the physical world, living biomass, and behavior. Recognition and financial rewards have followed. More of the same is anticipated.
Yet out beyond these successes remains a larger world where other pressing problems are not being resolved or even addressed. Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Soil losses in some places have dramatically reduced the potential for food, fiber, fuel, and forage production. Where people and opportunities don’t meet in the same time and place, standards of living have fallen or remained stagnant. Financial returns to agriculture and forestry minimally support a majority of those living on the land, if at all. The growth of human populations and the restless migrations away from scarcity mean that the global community is becoming “unsettled” on a scale unimaginable fifty years ago.
II. The Academic Community
In order to study a phenomenon, there must be some degree of control over the subject of inquiry or else cause and effect will not be understood and findings will be open to question. ...
Grayson LandCare was a sponsor of this year's tour, which is coordinated by Kevin Spurlin, Cooperative Extension Agent. About 50 people attended, including many county officials and employees. SEE MORE HERE
Tiny House Tour
Ten of us visited this just-built tiny house, which will be pulled this weekend to Raleigh and be the home for a member's grandson. SEE MORE HERE
Galax High School Students Participate
in Land Stewardship Competition
At our January 2014 meeting, Katie Trozzo, a graduate student at Virginia Tech, gave a fascinating presentation on Non-Timber Forest Products.
Download the power point presentation (download here) that accompanied her lecture. If you are interested in finding out more about what she is doing or finding out if your property has the potential to grow or harvest non-timber forest products, please fill out and e-mail back her survey (download here).
Austrailian LandCare Coordinator
Visits Grayson County
On Saturday, December 7th, Geoff Rollinson came to Independence for the Winter Market and the Christmas Parade.
The Farmers Market Float in the Independence Christmas Parade
He later had dinner with the Grayson LandCare Board of Directors at the home of Scott & Loren Webster in Mouth of Wilson.
Geoff is the Coordinator for the Heytesbury District Landcare Network in Timboon, Victoria. He came to the US for a workshop at the Smithsonian Biodiversity Research Center and scheduled a visit to the first US LandCare organization, Grayson LandCare. We learned about the Australian model of Landcare, which is partially supported by the government and managed in a hierarchical structure, although the decisions about what will be done are made by landowners and, for the most part, carried out by landowners and volunteers. He was very complimentary of our efforts and enjoyed the warm welcome and hospitality he received here.
A Day at the Farm: Stories
On Saturday, October 19th, folks gathered at the Matthews Living Historic Farm Museum for its annual Apple Harvest Day. Though slightly on the chilly side, with a bit of sprinkles thrown in, we hosted a steady stream of people of all ages from infants to geezers coming and going throughout the day. Musicians positioned themselves on the porch of the log cabin, and played traditional mountain tunes while people visited and caught up on neighborly news and gossip.
The USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program awards $26,488 to Grayson LandCare, Inc., Independence, VA, to professionalize
the Independence Farmers Market with a permanent market
manager and Board of Directors and to promote it as a viable,
self‐sustaining retail outlet for local growers and a venue for
consumers to buy
local fresh produce, meats, and eggs.
We were one of only five markets in Virginia to receive an award. Thank-you Grayson LandCare for all you did to make this possible!
Independence Farmers’ Market Manager
This is a must watch!
"Every time you sit down to a meal, you're voting on what kind of agriculture you want."
Watch this 5-minute film on Nebraska meat producers who put the needs of the soil and the animals first--and are finding that consumers respond, making their techniques MORE profitable while they feel good about what they are doing.
In Short Supply:
Small Farmers and the Struggle to Deliver Healthy Food
To Your Plate
The American food system doesn't make it easy for small farmers to get their healthy food to your home, but meet two farmers in Scott County, VA who are trying: Ricky Horton and Sherilyn Shepard. They're siblings who grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables in southwestern Virginia. Their livelihood is filled with uncertainties ranging from unpredictable weather to changing immigration laws. This is their story.
"With appreciation of our past and awareness of our present, we can create a safe, sane future."