As summer comes to a close, the harvest season is upon Appalachia, so it’s an excellent time to highlight the many local foods and agricultural events happening across the region. Whether celebratory or educational, the varied local foods landscape highlights a robust transition in action. People are gaining autonomy and community by learning how and where their food is grown, maybe even growing it themselves. Furthermore, new gatherings during the harvest season can signify agriculture’s resurgence in community life and the local economy.
Here are just a few events happening across the region this month that highlight the bountiful growth of the local foods transition:
Celebrate the Harvest and Berea Farmers Market Community Meal: Berea, KY. September 10th.
The Berea Urban Farm, an educational market garden located in Berea’s Old Town District, will host Celebrate the Harvest this Saturday. This “old fashioned fair with innovative and sustainable practices” will involve workshops, presentations and booths. The event will be followed at 5pm by the annual Berea’s Farmers Market’s Annual Community Meal, hosted at the Russell Acton Folk Center.
Sorghum Stir-Off Festival: Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. September 16th and 17th.
Participate in the Appalachian tradition of making sorghum syrup with local expert Gary Benson of Kickin’ Mule Sorghum. The two-day festival at Pine Mountain Settlement School will also offer workshops, live music and a soup bean supper. Read more about the history of sorghum harvest at Pine Mountain over the years.
Appalachian Food Summit: Berea College, Berea, KY. September 16th and 17th.
This 3rd-annual regional event will be held this year at Berea College and will explore and honor some of the underrepresented stories of Appalachia. The event kick-off is the John Egerton Cornbread Convocation on Friday night at the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center. Speakers on Saturday include Gurney Norman, Steven Alvarez and Toni Tipton Martin, followed by a culminating supper featuring Chefs Ouita Michaels and Travis Milton.
Nature Wonder Wild Food Weekend: North Bend State Park, Cairo, WV. September 16th-18th.
Started in 1968, Nature Wonder is the longest running annual wild food event in North America. Attendees to this weekend-long event learn how to find, process and feast on edible wild plants from park rangers and wild food instructors.
Teen Chopped Cook-off: Rural Resources, Greeneville, TN. September 24th.
The culinary skills of rural teenagers will be on display during as they compete in a live cook-off using mystery ingredients.
Field Day at Noah’s Farm, Pine Knot, KY, September 24th.
Led by Freda Stevens, this field day will offer educational gardening topics, including fall soil amendments, growing into the winter, and planning for the following year
These events are just a sampling of the growing local food and agriculture landscape across Appalachia. Visit Grow Appalachia or Bon Appetit Appalachia! to see even more events happening in your region of Appalachia —from harvest extension and seasonal cooking workshops, to cheese making and garlic planting.