Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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June 2012: Homegrown Kentucky opens Owsley County garden and wins PRIDE award

Owsley County Board of Education

The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award for June was shared by Homegrown Kentucky, which is a UK student group, and the Owsley County Board of Education (shown here).

Owsley County celebrated the launch of its Homegrown Kentucky community garden on May 24, and PRIDE honored two agencies leading the innovative project.

The garden is located at Owsley County High School, which has a substantial amount of tillable land. Students have been working in the garden, which allows for hands-on learning activities in subjects ranging from home economics to agriculture to math.

Now, the garden is being expanded for educational, economic and public health purposes. It will provide fresh produce for the elementary, middle and high school, with surplus food taken home by students. Community members may apply for a plot and then receive seeds and access to equipment at no cost. Older students and community members will be encouraged to make money by selling produce at the farmers’ market.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 24 by the agencies that are partnering to develop the garden. They are:

  • University of Kentucky’s Homegrown Kentucky Student Group
  • Owsley County Board of Education
  • Eastern Kentucky PRIDE
  • Owsley County Conservation District
  • University of Kentucky Extension Service

The UK Homegrown Kentucky Student Group initiated the project and has spearheaded fundraising, raising $2,000 so far through grants and a bake sale. The Board of Education provides the land. The other partners provide technical and planning support.

For their leadership in the project, the Owsley County Board of Education and Homegrown Kentucky were awarded PRIDE’s Volunteer of the Month Award. The award recognizes outstanding community service related to environmental education and cleanup efforts in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky.

“The enthusiasm and cooperative spirit shown by all the partners has been incredible, but we thought the UK students and local educators deserved special recognition for their contributions,” said Sandy Gay, who presented the award. She is a PRIDE Board Member and the program coordinator for the Owsley County Conservation District.

“From the school system, we thank Superintendent Tim Bobrowski, Principal Gary Cornett and their team,” she said. “From UK’s Homegrown Kentucky Student Group, we thank Ben Smith, Patrick Johnson, Luke McNally and Adam Meredith. We look forward to working with more UK students as this project grows.”

“We intend to pursue further funding in the coming months, in order to be a yearly contributor to the project from a financial standpoint, ideally in increasingly robust amounts,” said Ben Smith, speaking for the Homegrown Kentucky Student Group. “To that end, we’re attempting to form more partnerships within UK’s network of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, in order to increase the web of resources allocating money to this project.”

The Owsley County garden is the inaugural project of the Homegrown Kentucky group, which was formed in 2011. The group plans to start community gardens across the Commonwealth. Through summer internships, UK students can assist with the gardens to earn college credit and gain experience in community organization, leadership, communication, marketing and agriculture.

To request a plot in the community garden, please call Allen Taylor at 606.567.9018.

The Homegrown Kentucky Project web site is http://www.wix.com/homegrownkentucky/home.

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