RALEIGH COUNTY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – During Tuesday’s regular meeting, the Raleigh County Commission approved a $1000 donation for the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority’s new community high tunnel project.
Former commissioner Ron Hedrick presented the project, explaining that it would utilize the high tunnels (greenhouses) that the Solid Waste Authority constructed before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, the company was not able to get the use out of the greenhouses that they had hoped and are now looking for alternative uses.
Hedrick joined with Beckey City Councilwoman Sherrie Hunter, as well as members of WVU Tech, the local Veteran center, United Way of Southern West Virginia, and other entities to create the high tunnel project, which will give the local community the opportunity to teach younger children the art of farming, growing crops and bringing them to harvest.
The county commission’s donation will go toward buying seedlings and supplies for the project.
Hedrick says they hope to enlist the help of the older generation to help teach children the valuable skill of growing their own food.
“Our hope is to get farming back in our area,” Hedrick stated. “It’s way down right now, and there aren’t many farms at all, really. We rely on farms in other states far away and even other countries to get our food. We want to teach something that isn’t taught much anymore.”
While the project will be educational for the younger participants, it will also be therapeutic for the older volunteers.
“We wanted to bring the community together and try to bring in that generation that used to farm all the time. They’ll be getting out there and working with their hands and doing something that they used to do while teaching the kids what to do.”
All project activities will take place on the Solid Waste Authority’s property. A half-acre plot of land has already been prepared to plant seedlings, which the project’s organizers hope to accomplish within the next two weeks.
Once the crops have been grown and harvested, the Solid Waste Authority will work with organizations in the area to locate families who are in need of fresh produce.
If the project is successful this year, Hedrick says they hope to expand by increasing the amount of produce grown and by teaching participants how to can.
Hunter is currently working on developing a schedule for project activities, as well as a Facebook page to detail upcoming events.
Anyone who wishes to participate in the project or wishes to become a volunteer can contact the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority and ask to speak with Sherrie Hunter.
The project is not limited to Raleigh County Citizens. Everyone is welcome to participate or volunteer.