Taylor Malone shares excitement for learning outdoors

The Appalachian RC&D Council is inviting enrollment for Sowing Seeds, its spring 2018 after-school children’s enrichment program in Johnson City.  Sowing Seeds is a unique outdoors nature program, which focuses on food and nutrition and creativity; the mission is “Sowing Seed, Helping Feed, Inspiring Youth to Take the Lead”. There are 10 available spots open to children ages 6-12 who live in Washington County. The program will be held every Monday afternoon beginning May 7th and ending June 25, culminating with a kids-prepared community meal on Friday June 28.

Tuition is a sliding scale, $5-$10 per 1.5 hour program day, and can be paid in advance for the season or per week. Scholarships are available for those who inquire.  All inquiries should be through email to Sowing Seeds Coordinators Taylor Malone and Shae Keane at malonets@goldmail.etsu.edu, or 423-979-2581.

Sowing Seeds after-school program began in 2016 with funding from the Washington County Community Foundation.  Keane and Malone, supported by interns from ETSU and from Science Hill, have held weekly programming for youth from the Mountain Home neighborhood in all seasons, and in all weather.  The 2018 spring season is the first season where programming is open to all residents of Washington County. More information about the program’s history and past programs can be seen at https://theseedisenough.wordpress.com/written-words/

Parent Maddy Kidder gives testimony to how outdoor based exploration has changed her children’s habits and awareness:

Sowing Seeds made my kids want to play outside. In the age of video games and YouTube, outdoor play is becoming less common. My kids looked forward to Sowing Seeds each week, and although we’ve moved away from the area, they still talk about how much they loved getting their hands in the dirt.  My daughter has asked about new ways to get veggies into their diet. The younger your child is when they start learning to grow their own food, the better their diet will be in the long run. We have to teach good habits early, in hopes that they keep those good habits.”

The location for Sowing Seeds is the Mountain Home Food Forest, a surprising park perched on the corner of Wilson Avenue and Belmont St. Not only is there green space and a little pavilion to rest, most everything growing there is edible. Traces of kids play are evident in the trodden paths, hand-painted signs, painted rain barrels and craft projects hanging on the pavilion.

According to Keane, the Food Forest is, “a community edible park accessible to everyone where fruit trees, nuts, berries, herbs, and veggies are grown, both to serve as a community source of fresh grown foods and to serve as a place of learning.”

Learning not just for one season, but learning good habits for a lifetime.

Contact Information:

Taylor Malone – Appalachian RC&D Council


3211 N. Roan St. Johnson City, TN 37601