The prospect of community garden was addressed by the Harlan Tourism and Convention Commission during a meeting Tuesday.
Harlan Tourism Director Brandon Pennington brought the idea up to the panel.
“Grow Appalachia is a program through the Pine Mountain Settlement School,” said Pennington. “It’s attempting to get more gardens and gardening into our community.”
Pennington said the program would help participants start and support a garden throughout the growing season.
According to Pennington, the program requires participants to create a garden plan, take a soil sample from the garden and keep track of the produce that’s harvested.
Pennington mentioned tourism could possibly work on promoting “gardening by the foot,” which is essentially growing things in boxes with a diameter of a few feet.
“Each foot hosts a different crop or a different vegetable,” said Pennington. “People in bigger cities … they’ll do this gardening by the foot and try to grow whatever they can.”
Pennington suggested this be done as a sort of community garden.
“Instead of doing a traditional garden, do something more like a park where the boxes would be set in a very attractive way with benches and maybe a walkway around it,” said Pennington.
Commission Chair Annie Fox said she has had conversations about such a program.
“What we talked about trying to do is really get the community gardening concept to take place here in Harlan,” said Fox.
Fox said Holy Trinity has already committed some of their “green space” to the idea.
According to Fox, the community gardeners could contribute produce to the farmer’s market that takes place at the Harlan Center in the summer months.
“There is a program at the county schools — through their food services — they will buy all the fresh produce that these gardens will produce,” said Fox.
Fox also mentioned area restaurants may purchase some of the produce.
Pennington said the Grow Appalachia program could benefit tourism.
“A way to tie that into tourism is to create a Grow Appalachia map where our community could visit the different community gardens,” said Pennington.
New board member Greg Drury, owner of The Portal restaurant, stated that restaurants are always looking for fresh produce.
After some discussion, the board passed a motion to entertain the development of the “Grow Appalachia” project.
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, or on Twitter @joe_hde