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Grow Food Where People Live May 2016 Permablitz

by Sydney Klein, Grow Food Where People Live Program Coordinator

This time last year, we began to nurture our first Micro Farm at Ashley Meadows in Columbus, NC as part of the Grow Food Where People Live initiative launched in January 2015.

Grow Food Where People Live aims to improve the health, food security, and economic wellbeing of people in Western North Carolina, and is a joint initiative of Groundswell International, Polk County Agricultural Economic Development, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry, and Growing Rural Opportunities (GRO).

Now, a year later, we get to see the actual fruit of our labor while simultaneously spreading our roots wider with new sites and new partner organizations.

Our pilot year was full of excitement as families learned to grow and preserve their own food. This spring we gained four new gardeners, with a total of twelve families gardening on site, and the neighborhood has exploded with life! The gardens are packed full of vegetable starts donated from Banner Greenhouses and Tryon Hardware and seeds from Sow True Seed. Just yesterday we saw the European pears, blueberries and the muscadines from Useful Plants Nursery loaded up with fruit, and we were able to harvest 9 lbs of cherries from just the 6 bushes by the office! It has been such a blessing to see the gardens and the gardeners grow together, and to see their learning in action.

Read Sydney’s full update on our partner’s website, Growing Rural Opportunities.

A special thank you to all of the amazing volunteers that dedicated their time and energy to creating and expanding the Micro Farms in Polk County. Beyond the organizations already mentioned, we are extremely grateful for the support of organizations who make this work possible:

  • Asheville Screen Printing for doing an amazing printing our event t-shirts
  • Buchi Kombucha for being the first supporter of our program in Western North Carolina
  • Chinquapin Farm for materials and supplies for our May 2016 Permablitz
  • Clif Bar for their donation of hundreds of bars to keep our volunteers energized during the Permablitz
  • Fifth Season Asheville Market for dedicating their June Community Harvest to Grow Food Where People Live
  • Lowes Spartanburg for materials and supplies for our May 2016 Permablitz
  • Tryon Equine Compost for materials and supplies for our May 2016 Permablitz
Harvesting Garlic in the Rain

Residents at Ashley Meadows harvesting garlic.

Interested in getting involved?
This summer we will be hosting volunteer workdays at the Thermal Belt Outreach on the following dates from 9:30am-12:00pm.
  • Saturday, July 9th
  • Saturday, August 13th
  • Saturday, September 10th

Email Sydney at if you would like to join us on one of these days. Volunteers will receive a stainless steel water bottle and Grow Food Where People Live t-shirt while supplies last.

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