DAVID — Vegetables fresh from the garden will be on the menu this weekend as community members come together to look at sustainable agriculture in Floyd County.
The meetings, presented by St. Vincent Mission, are scheduled to take place Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m., and again Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to Sister Kathleen Weigand, the project engages citizens in a follow-up forum and working sessions to solve a community problem.
“Our project is a two-day strategic planning process with community citizens, leaders and stakeholders to determine how we can build the capacity of Floyd County, through sustainable agriculture,” Weigand said.
Weigand says the early success of St. Vincent Mission’s Grow Appalachia project indicates that expanding the program could help build a social, economic and environmental system that knits people together through sustainable connections and cultivates a new relationship economy that favors local over distant in food production, buying and other transactions.
Weigand notes that Floyd is one of 41 counties in Kentucky designated by the Appalachia Regional Commission as distressed. Distressed counties are those that rank in the bottom 10 percent of the nation’s counties on the basis of low per capita income and high rates of poverty and unemployment.
“To move people out of poverty and improve the economic condition of Floyd County, we need to build on local relationships,” says Weigand. “A stronger economy for all of us turns on whether we can forge personal relationships into something bigger to support livelihoods during our working years and beyond.”
The solution, Weigand says, is to plant the seeds of change, both figuratively and literally.
“Our goal is to build a strong community around Grow Appalachia.”
During the public dinner forum on Friday, project leaders plan to present a broad framework of principles and obtain citizen input for creating a shared vision around sustainable agriculture. The Saturday session will give citizens an opportunity to meet in small groups to begin moving the vision toward action.
Weigand says the substance of what comes out of this weekend’s sessions will form the basis of a grant proposal to be submitted in May to the Appalachia Regional Commission for county-wide capacity-building through sustainable agriculture.