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Contact: Chelsea Goulding
Agriculture Education Program Manager  

Appalachian Sustainable Development receives $15,000 from Grow Appalachia

BRISTOL, Va. – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), has been awarded $15,000 from Grow Appalachia, to continue its Grow Your Own program, which empowers families to grow their own food and earn income from home grown produce sales. Since 2012, participants in this program have grown over 160,500 pounds of produce. ASD provides seasonally appropriate training, technical support, seeds, plants, tools and tilling services. Virtual workshops provide foundational agriculture education on how to plan, plant, grow, cook, and preserve fresh produce.  Home and community gardeners grow food for their households, to supplement their income and to share with neighbors and local food banks. 

In 2021, ASD will recruit 20 families to attend a variety of virtual workshops. Ten or more families per teaching site will break new ground as home gardeners, growing food to feed their families. Five third year individual gardeners per site will participate in a developing mentor program. Mentors will assist with workshop preparation, provide hands-on gardening and food production demonstrations and conduct basic site visits for new gardeners. Fourth year participants may attend workshops, demonstrations and volunteer hours but will no longer receive supplies. Experience is not necessary and a limited number of scholarships and fee waivers are available. A first year fee of $25/family is required at the time of enrollment. Second year participants will be charged a $20/family renewal fee. Register at: or contact Chelsea Goulding:

Chelsea Goulding, ASD’s Agriculture Education Program Manager explains, “The Grow Your Own program has been a staple in this region for years. In 2021, ASD will continue to meet participant’s needs, especially in this current era as regional food pantries are experiencing drastically increased need. While following strict CDC guidelines, we plan to give people more ways to participate and help us grow the program. By doing so, they see how and where they can fit into the local food system. Moving forward, our food access programs will focus on ‘a lifetime of healthy eating’. We meet folks where they are and provide them with effective tools for health, wellness, and financial success.”

Grow Your Own participants often struggle with finding, consuming and being able to afford fresh, nutritious produce. Many live below the national poverty level (31%), have disabilities (37%), and struggle to provide for their families on a single income (23%). With support from Grow Appalachia, ASD provides these families an opportunity to take ownership of their own food sovereignty through foundational agriculture education aimed at small-scale intensive four-season production of home and community gardens.

About Grow Appalachia 

Grow Appalachia was created in 2009 through funding from John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and owner of John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS) and Patron Tequila, to address the problem of food security in Appalachia. A natural entrepreneur and problem-solver, John Paul began cultivating a unique vision for tackling food insecurity. He believes that the best way to help people is to empower them to help themselves—even when facing steep, structural challenges.

John Paul began collaborating with Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, to develop a program that would both meet needs and leverage existing community strengths. John Paul’s ongoing generosity has allowed the Grow Appalachia program to impact the lives of many thousands of Appalachian families. Rather than apply a cookie cutter approach to nutrition based wellness, Grow Appalachia meets families where they live and addresses their specific needs. Some families need only help with tillage and fertilization. Some families need to start from scratch. Some elderly and disabled gardeners need help with the hard labor of preparing beds, planting and cultivation, and Grow Appalachia connects them with young people to enable them to keep food security at their own homes. Learn more:

About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) 

Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development celebrated its 25th year in 2020. ASD’s mission is to build a thriving regional food and agriculture system that creates healthy communities, respects the planet and cultivates profitable opportunities for Appalachians.

Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio.  ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. Learn more:, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.   

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