Homegrown Kentucky: Owsley County, Ky

By Sarah Geegan

A group of seven UK students, in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative U at UK, established a community agriculture project to address nutritional and economic deficiencies in Appalachia. Titled "Homegrown Kentucky," the project involves a community effort to begin and sustain a 10-acre vegetable garden, which will provide all of the nutritional resources for the Owsley County Public schools, as well as community plots for citizens to grow their own food.

One of the five poorest counties in the nation, Owsley County also has one of the highest rates of preventable disease. The high school graduation rates rank between 50 and 65 percent, and the median annual household income is approximately $15,000. After organizing panels with the Owsley County Board of Education, teachers and various non-profit organizations, the students determined a systematic approach to address these issues, acquired full support from the community and implemented the plan in just four months.

Through independent fundraising, grants and donated supplies from the Owsley County community, they have already built a greenhouse and planted crops. These crops have been used in the cafeterias and incorporated into Owsley County agriculture classes. For more information on Homegrown Kentucky, please visit: www.as.uky.edu/homegrown-ky and here: homegrownkentucky.wix.com/home

Photographs by: Dana Rogers

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