Just down 58, southwest of our humble Appalachia, is a small mountain community named Eagan. Home to dear friends like Vickie, Sam and Carol, Eagan boasts an amazing community center called the Clearfork Community Institute (CCI), where magical events bring the community together, even amidst local turmoil and the sometimes harsh realities of living in the mountains.
CCI and members of the community have started a new initiative called ACE: Appalachian Community Economics, out of an interest in pursuing creative ways to build an inter-generational local economy that doesn’t rely on coal or coal profits.
Build It Up! VA spent a few days in early June helping build five new community gardens in Eagan, each with a separate agenda: Margaret’s garden will grow things to be canned in the fall; Candice’s garden will grow food for home demonstrations; Ashley’s & June’s garden will grow food to become baby fare, and will be used in how-to baby food demonstrations; the CCI garden will supplement local diets and teach children how to grow things; and Vickie’s garden will grow culinary and medicinal herbs that can be turned into value-added products. All of these ideas evolved from group planning sessions, where folks from the community came together to assess community needs and inter-generational desires. BIU! VA was so inspired by this creative thinking, and hopes to incorporate these simple lessons back home; the idea of growing different food across the community to help and teach each other is certainly something that could be widely implemented and appreciated.
Many thanks to CCI and the wonderful community of Eagan for sharing the fruits of your brainstorming sessions, and for informing BIU! VA in our fledgling stages!