Nature and Appalachian Culture
Our signature project is Saving Appalachian Gardens and Stories (SAGAS) an annual demonstration garden for heirloom seeds and oral history collection. This joint effort of the Department of Biology and the Center began in 2006 as we collected heirloom seeds from the mountain region. Two years later, biology professors, students and community volunteers started an annual demonstration garden at the historic Vickery House, the Center’s headquarters. Biology Professor Karrie Ann Fadroski maintains the center’s seed bank and oversees the garden. Rosann Kent oversees the story collection.
The organic garden is designed to minimize water loss, replenish our seed bank and share seeds with our neighbors.
SAGAS also preserves cultural history by interviewing seed donors about gardening traditions and foodways of Southern Appalachia. Such memories are as important as the genetic diversity of the seeds.