ReeAnna Bledsoe just recently finisher her internship for our Community of Gardens. This is her reflection after helping to set up a garden for pre-K class at the Children’s Council.
Digging in Life’s Garden with ReeAnna:
As an Appalachian Studies graduate, I spent the past four years studying cultural and sustainable agricultural practices within the High Country. One thing I learned is that it is of the utmost importance to take advantage of the natural resources we are given in this region; in this case, the soil! The Appalachian region is known for its high biodiversity and rich soil. My nana, an Appalachian and Ashe County native, used to jokingly say to me, “Up here, you could put a tire in the ground and grow a car”. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but I would be willing to try!
I am extremely passionate about growing my own food and sourcing the rest from local farms, shopping at places like at the Watauga and King Street Markets. So I was more than pleased to get the opportunity to help the Children's Council of Watauga County with starting up their first garden!
We were able to plant purple pole beans, cucumbers, sweet corn, parsnips, parsley, as well as lettuce and mustard greens. It was so heartwarming to see these young kids so excited and passionate about gardening and having the ability to grow their own food! One little boy was planting purple pole beans when he looked up in pure excitement and exclaimed, “I can’t WAIT to tell my Pappy about this!”. The entire group was attentive and helpful the entire experience, working gently with small seeds and meticulously sowing each seed with love and care.
During my time at Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, I’ve noticed a growing trend-- children are passionate about growing their own food. From working the Kid’s Corner at events and gatherings, to the local farmer’s market, kids have an unbiased love for plants. It is inspiring to say the least. Non-profit programs like Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture play a major role in connecting children and their families to fresh, local food, while allowing family farmers to have an outlet to easily sell their harvest.
But more than that, it’s an organization that inspires children to love and cherish the work of farmers. By connecting elementary schools with gardens of their own or in this case, the Children’s Council, little by little seeds of knowledge are sprouting in the minds of these kids. The passion these young people display for growing food will only expand, producing the next generation of local, sustainable agriculture.
As my time at Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture comes to an end, I know that just as influential as these small gardens are for our community’s children, they are equally as inspiring to adults like myself who can always use a little inspiration. Because let’s face it, growing food is no easy task... but it’s worth the work.