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Seasonal Extension for Eastern Kentucky (SEEK)

Introduction

In 2017 the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) entered into a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) agreement with Grow Appalachia.  Grow Appalachia is a program of grow appalachia berea college logoBerea College in Berea, KY. The Grow Appalachia program started in 2009 with a generous contribution from John Paul Dejoria, co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Tequila.

With the mission of addressing food insecurity issues in central Appalachia John Paul’s generosity allowed Berea College’s staff member David Cooke, a West Virginia native, to design and implement a plan to increase the availability of local, healthy food by cultivating a program in which communities and families have access to resources that allow them to grow and preserve their own food.appalachian sustainable development volunteer shows children crops

The mission: To Help As Many People In Central Appalachia Grow As Much Of Their Own Food As Possible. Grow Appalachia is successful at fulfilling its mission primarily because of the strong partnerships with organizations across the region. Partnering with organizations that are known, trusted and embedded in communities has been a successful approach to transferring the knowledge of Organic production to the folks in our region.

Grow Appalachia has grown since 2009 from a small gardening program into a diverse social impact organization. This diversity includes a Summer Food Service Program – that helps provide good food to children outside of the school year; a social enterprise division that designs, manufactures and installs high tunnels and supporting equipment, and a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service of Kentucky.

The partnership with USDA NRCS KY delivers programs that increase the capacity of producers while implementing conservation practices that maintain and improve the natural resources of the region. Grow Appalachia delivers these diverse projects while continuing the garden work Grow Appalachia was founded upon. This RCPP project is one more example of organizations partnering to achieve sustainable, appropriate food production for our communities.   

Eligible Counties

map of kentucky 2018 rcpp showing seek eligible counties
 
  • Bath
  • Bell
  • Boyd
  • Breathitt
  • Carter
  • Clay
  • Elliot
  • Estill​
  • Floyd
  • Harlan
  • Jackson
  • Johnson
  • Knott
  • Knox
  • Laurel
  • Lawrence
  • Lee
  • Letcher
  • Madison
  • Magoffin
  • Martin
  • Menifee
  • Morgan
  • Owsley
  • Perry
  • Pike
  • Powell
  • Rock-Castle
  • Rowan
  • Wolfe

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A little over $300,000 was obligated to this RCPP agreement for the installation of High Tunnel Systems in Eastern Kentucky.  The SEEK RCPP accepted applications for Seasonal High Tunnels in Fiscal Year 2018.  Twenty two contracts were obligated with the $300,000 of financial assistance awarded to this RCPP project.  Grow Appalachia will continue to work with EQIP participants as they install and begin to use their Seasonal High Tunnels.