Pictured: Brenda Cockerham shared the process of preparing produce for preserving to attendees of the virtual workshop.

Expanding access to healthy foods is a long-term goal for the Community Service Block Grant’s Garden Seed Program, and a big part of that comes from preserving the lifespan of food, with or without refrigeration. Not only does the program provide a healthy resource, it’s also a valuable skill set. With gardening becoming more of a necessity to help extend finances and access to healthy foods, so does the ability to preserve the crops produced.

On Monday, August 23, 2021, Big Sandy Area Community Action Program held the Preserving the Garden virtual workshop. The guest speaker for the event was Brenda Cockerham, a Family and Consumer Sciences Agent with the Johnson County Extension Service. Brenda offered her experience with food preparation to extend their shelf life, with techniques including canning, freezing, and drying. Safety was also discussed as what could be potentially hazardous if not done properly.

“The Garden Seed Program is dedicated to helping individuals supplement their income with a healthy solution,” said Alecia Conley-Knox, CSBG Program Manager. “Providing this workshop virtually gave us a safe way to work with partners in our community to assist families in learning the skills needed to feed their families healthy, home-grown foods.”

The video from the workshop is available here on our BSACAP Inc YouTube channel, so those interested in the techniques may view at any time as they look to start their own food preservation projects. More workshops will also be available in the future, so stay tuned to the BSACAP Facebook page for updates, as well as bsacap.org.

To begin your journey into food preservation, publications are available at all county extension service offices.

Funding for the Garden Seed Program is made available by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a vast array of services, such as employment and training assistance, weatherization of homes, and area Head Start programs, in order to assist individuals and families in obtaining self-sufficiency. Through collaborative efforts of community and organizational partnerships, BSACAP seeks to improve the overall quality of life within Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County communities. To learn more about BSACAP and their programs, visit www.bsacap.org, follow them on Facebook, or call the service office in your county.