Last updated: July 18. 2013 7:35PM - 203 Views
Debra Joy Wallace

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PRESTONSBURG — Learning about ways to save and earn money through small-scale farming, energy efficiency and renewables will be the focus of the fourt “Growing Appalachia” conference, to be held March 9 at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.

The day-long conference will provide information and skills for healthier living and greater self-sufficiency. Workshops will have three tracks — beginning, advanced and efficiency/renewable energy — so anyone can come and find a place to fit their interest and skill level.

“All across Appalachia, our families, friends and neighbors are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table,” said Todd Howard, one of the conference planners. “The Growing Appalachia conference addresses these issues, specifically by teaching and informing participants about renewable energy options, energy savings, beginning farming, food preservation, wild medicinals and small-scale dairy production.”

A popular workshop last year on Do-It-Yourself Energy Efficiency will be repeated this year. It will focus on practical tips to improve home energy efficiency, including step-by-step instruction on what one can easily do himself or herself, what local programs are available for assistance, and knowing when to call in the professionals.

Another workshop will focus on collecting and marketing wild edibles and medicinals. It will cover the identification, harvest and marketing of native and naturalized edible and medicinal herbs, including how to prepare certain plants for personal use (salves, tinctures and recipes for the kitchen table).

“The information gained in each session can make a lasting impact on the participant, their family and regions by becoming more self-reliant and adding more money in their pockets,” said Howard, who will be attending for the fourth year. “While the information presented is first-class, the networking aspect is the part I enjoy most of all.”

Growing Appalachia is sponsored by the Floyd County chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, with assistance from the Community Farm Alliance, the Floyd County Farmers Market, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Grow Appalachia and the Pine Mountain Settlement School.

The conference will take place Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., at the Wilkinson Stumbo Convention Center, at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. The conference is free, but a $10 donation is requested.

Pre-registration is appreciated in order to ensure there will be enough locally-sourced food for lunch. Those interested in attending can register online at kftc.org/growing or by calling (606) 263-4982.

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