Tag Archives: Appalachia

1067 lbs of produce?

11 Jul
The Gardeners Grove is home to the LMU Organic Garden Project

The Gardeners Grove is home to the LMU Organic Garden Project

Lincoln Memorial University is on a mission to serve underserved populations in Appalachia and beyond. You probably know that the University pursues that mission by providing educational opportunities. An email in my inbox this morning reminded me that although LMU fulfills this mission with class offerings, new programs and professional degree opportunities; it also uses swimming pools, stethoscopes, paintbrushes and produce.

Produce? Yes, as in squash, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Say what? Yes, 1067 lbs., of squash, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes to be exact. And that doesn’t account for the summer crops that have been planted and haven’t started to yield a crop. Oh, and all of these crops are organically grown. What does all this produce have to do with LMU or her mission?

In January of 2010 the LMU Board of Trustees set aside a small portion of the LMU Main Campus’s 1,000 acres in Harrogate, Tenn., to establish an organic garden. The goal was to provide a place for community members, both from LMU and the surrounding counties, who might not have access to land or resources to grown their own food and learn organic gardening.

IMG_2212The LMU Organic Garden facilities are located on the south side of campus past LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine near the roundabout. Today the garden includes two green houses and is split into two sections. The adult garden consists of 75 raised beds and ¾ of an acre community garden. The adult section includes three wheel chair accessible raised beds. The children’s garden consists of 25 raised beds and a ¼ acre community garden. Additionally, there is a ¼ acre produce market garden which is used to teach young adults successful market skills. Garden members have the opportunity to grow their own food in individual beds. Additionally they have access to a classroom/kitchen to attend weekly meetings each Monday, which often include guest speakers. Classes are offered for planting and soil preparation, canning and healthy eating. Produce is shared with local families and community food banks. Funded in part by grants from Grow Appalachia in Berea, Ky., and the Cumberland Natural Resource Association, the LMU Organic Garden offers free beds, seeds, home gardens and plants to its members.

The high tunnel gives gardeners more options during the growing seasons.

The high tunnel gives gardeners more options during the growing seasons.

While the growth at the garden has been gradual, progress is apparent as the roots of the group take hold. A high tunnel has been added in the last year providing another opportunity to multiply the crops. That 1067 lbs. of produces is up from 325 pounds a year ago. There are 52 families, a total of 132 individuals, participating in the garden and their weekly classes are usually filled to the brim. The group joined the Harrogate Farmers Market and the spring plant sale generated $674 and 200 vegetable plants were donated to local food ministries. All told, between providing healthy food to the participants, selling produce at the market and donating plants to ministries, the garden is extending LMU’s mission by providing for the underserved.

The LMU Organic Garden is managed by Bill Clayton and Sue Granger. Bonnie Banks is the green house manager and administrative duties are handled by Debbie Clayton. Applications are available by contacting Bill Clayton at organichillbilly_lmu@yahoo.com; or Sue Granger at doglovercaery@netscape.net or Debbie Clayton at debbiehoneybee9@gmail.com. For more information on the organization call Bill Clayton at 423.441.9133.

The LMU Organic Gardening Project is a partner site of Grow Appalachia, http://www.growappalachia.org an outreach education and service project of Berea College. It is funded by the generosity of John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Inc. Grow Appalachia emphasizes food production in order to introduce as much no-cost, fresh healthy food as possible to the region. The basic goal is to help as many families grow as much of their own food as possible. Additional financial support has come from Walmart in Tazewell and the 2014 Youth Garden Grant from the National Gardening Association.

The garden also produces honey from these bee hives.

The garden also produces honey from these bee hives.

One of two greenhouses at the garden.

One of two greenhouses at the garden.

 

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Thacker goes “Voice Hunting”

16 Aug

With a rich and layered literary history, LMU has been home to some of the most haunting voices in Appalachian Literature. Our heritage, including noted alumni James Still, Jesse Stuart and Don West, has made LMU a Mecca for Appalachian literature today, drawing the likes of Lee Smith, Silas House and Ron Rash to campus. Events like the annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival and the Appalachian Reading Series have shined a light on the work that LMU is doing to promote and preserve Appalachian Literature, but perhaps the greatest contribution to the movement continues to be LMU’s people.

Larry Thacker

LMU’s faculty and staffs are laden with gifted storytellers and their reign is not limited to the English department. A prime example is Director of Student Success, Retention and Career Services Larry Thacker. Already the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, Thacker’s first foray into poetry will be published next month.

Voice Hunting, a collection of poems, dives into what being Appalachian in today’s world means. From the obvious to the symbolic in everyday life, Thacker’s poems are a journey of discovering personal voice and meaning in a mountain culture that is quickly being absorbed into the mainstream.

“These poems are my attempt at preserving snapshots of clarity I’ve experienced over the last few years as I’ve tried to understand who I am as an Appalachian in this early 21st century culture,” Thacker said. “Some serve as prayers of understanding, some express frustration with the challenges of our area, some deal with our unique connection with our natural surroundings, while others try to fill in the blanks of my family history that have been lost with time.”

As a seventh-generation Cumberland Gap-area native, Thacker’s writing over the years – whether through columns, fiction or poetry – has served as a cultural balm of sorts, helping him, and hopefully others, better understand the history of our surrounding Appalachian experience. 

Voice Hunting is being published by Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, Kentucky) and is available by mid-September from the publisher (http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm) as well as a number of local book dealers including Book Haven and the LMU Bookstore. Contact Larry via his Facebook at www.facebook.com/thackalachia.