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Ruby Grow branches out

Like an old-time barn-raising, High Rocks staff, AmeriCorps volunteers, a crew from Sprouting Farms, members of the local community and WVU Extension agents came together to build the first of several high tunnels at the Ruby Grow site in Hillsboro. Ruby Grow is an agricultural development program sponsored by High Rocks Educational Corporation where young members of the local community will get hands-on experience, learning how to operate their own vegetable production business. It was a chilly October day as construction began, but spirits were high as “many hands made light work.” Photo courtesy of Joanna Greer

Casey Withers
Farm Manager
High Rocks Education Corporation
 
Ruby Grow is a youth-oriented agricultural development program sponsored by High Rocks Educational Corporation.

In this program, young members of the local community learn how to operate their own vegetable production business. Program participants vary in age – most falling between the ages of 16 and 29.

Ruby Grow can take on three to five participants at a time, for 30 weeks of the year. 

These opportunities are paid at a wage of $10 per hour, and participants can work up to 14 hours per week to grow food in outdoor gardens and, soon, high tunnels.

The main farming site for the program, in Hillsboro, constructed its first high tunnel October 14 and 15.

High Rocks staff and AmeriCorps volunteers were joined by Doug Koenig and the Sprouting Farms crew, and together, with the assistance of community volunteers – Mike Hardesty, Trevor Swan, Thomas Manscheim, Josh Morgan, Ramon Creager and Norvill Clark – the high tunnel was erected.

The WVU Extension Service was also on hand, with representation by Pocahontas County WVU Extension Agent Greg Hamons as well as Extension agents from Greenbrier and Monroe counties.

High tunnels are used to extend growing seasons for fruits and vegetables.

This particular structure is 30 feet wide by 96 feet long.

Crops will include leafy greens like spinach, lettuce and kale and a few herbs, such as basil and parsley. 

Root vegetables will also be grown – garlic, onions, carrots, beets and turnips, and tomatoes and peppers will also be on the list.

We hope to have our produce enter local markets, and enhance the health and wellness of our community.

To inquire about participating in or purchasing products from the Ruby Grow program, please contact me, Farm and Operations Manager Casey Withers at 304-653-4891 or casey@highrocks.org

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