Local food initiative Grow Local Go Local is gearing up for the planting season with a Seed Swap on March 9. This inaugural event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the War Memorial Building located on Main Street in New Martinsville.
The event is an effort put in place by the volunteers of Grow Local Go Local who aim to exchange not only seeds, but ideas. And if you don't have any seeds to trade, there will be free community seeds provided by Grow Local Go Local. Those seeds, which include tomatoes, carrots, peppers, melons, radishes, and flowers, are provided by Seeds of Change and are certified organic seeds.
Seeds of Change was founded in 1989 with a revolutionary mission to make organically grown seeds available to gardeners and farmers, while preserving rare heirloom and traditional seed varieties, and promoting sustainable organic agricultural practices.
A vital member in attendance at Saturday's event will be Grow Local Go Local's Don Macnaughtan, who serves as president of the organization's Community Garden. Last year Macnaughtan and other volunteers established the garden at the north end of New Martinsville near Wetzel County Hospital between Paducah and Benjamin drives. The garden gained 10 tenants last year and Grow Local Go Local hopes more will take root this season.
"We're hoping to get more demand for community gardens," Macnaughtan adds. "There's a good deal of camaraderie with the garden folks and we have people there who have a variety of skills. The experienced ones help out those who are starting out. It's a lot of fun for everyone."
In keeping with this farming fellowship, many local gardeners and master gardeners are planned to also be at the Seed Swap to answer your gardening questions. Additionally, 2013 Community Garden applications will be available. There are a limited number of plots available and plots are reserved on a first come, first served basis. Community Garden spaces are available in either 20-by-20 foot or 20-by-40 foot plots and cost only $5 or $10, respectively. Need-based grants are available.
The Seed Swap and Community Garden are just a few of the many initiatives Grow Local Go Local has planted to help the citizens of Wetzel County learn the value of growing their own food for consumption or marketing as well as learn the basics of gardening itself. To help further foster these goals, the organization was recently awarded a $2,000 grant from the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities to expand accessible gardens in Wetzel County.
The grant was made possible through the Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints program which provides West Virginia organizations such as Grow Local Go Local the opportunity to perform community service by making gardening accessible to West Virginians with arthritis. The awarded funds are intended to cover material costs for construction of raised beds or other accessibility modifications for gardens at senior centers, public parks, and other locations.
Additionally, Green Thumbs, Healthy Joints will provide technical assistance and support for groups in identifying accessible gardening resources to meet the needs of their community. Such groups will receive ergonomic tools which can later be used in outreach and educational efforts.
The mission of Grow Local Go Local is to educate citizens of Wetzel County of the benefits of eating locally grown fresh food and how to prepare simple, nutritious meals; develop a network of community gardens that will be used to the educational, health, and economic benefit of the Citizens of Wetzel County; and to create a countywide farmers market system to act as an outlet for locally grown and raised food.
For more information or to obtain a community garden application visit www.GrowLocalGoLocal.org, their Facebook page, or contact VISTA Volunteer Tom Myslinsky at 304-771-5700.