November 2017
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Cultivating  502

Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District

“Always include local nature - the land, the water, the air, the native creatures - within the membership of the community.”
— Wendell Berry, Conserving Communities, 1995
A sign at one of the newly constructed high tunnels in the California neighborhood gives thanks.
 A Year of Many Thanks
Reflecting on an Exciting Year 

Wow, what a year! We can't believe it is already the end of November. This year has been one of excitement, change, new challenges and lots of fun at our Conservation District. We wanted to take a minute to reflect on all that has happened in 2017 and offer thanks to those that made it all possible.

2017 marked the end of an era at the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District. After 35 years of service to the district, Joy Edwards retired in August to relax and enjoy life. If you ever stopped by our office in the past 35 years, you most likely encountered Joy. Joy managed the operations of our district as our Administrative Secretary. She did everything from answering the phone to field visits to managing the finances and did it all with a smile. We miss her and couldn't be more thankful for the many years of service she provided the district and the residents of Jefferson County. Thank you, Joy!

Last year the Conservation District teamed up with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to launch our Urban High Tunnel Initiative. The goal of the program is to increase year-long food production by reducing the cost of high tunnels for urban residents of Jefferson County, especially those located in our food insecure neighborhoods. With additional funding from the Humana Foundation, Louisville Metro and the KY Department of Conservation, we were able to reduce the cost of the structure for each recipient to 7%! We are also providing technical assistance around food production and distribution for the recipients. 

For the 2017 funding cycle, 12 high tunnels were approved with 11 already built, 9 of which are located in food insecure neighborhoods. The high tunnels were constructed in metro council districts 1, 5, 6, 11, 15, 20, 21 and 22. We are so thankful to our partners in this project for all of their support and to the residents that are participating in the program. We can't wait to see what they grow in their tunnels this coming year!

Speaking of great partnerships, this year we focused a lot of our time on building relationships with other like-minded organizations in the county and working to collaborate. We want to thank the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Services for being such an awesome partner! We worked together on the Eat Local, Grow Local course and other workshops throughout the year. Their support helped us to do more with the limited resources we have and we are so grateful!

We also had the pleasure of working with Common Earth Gardens and the refugee and immigrant farmers they support. There is such a wealth of knowledge and skill in their community. We were honored to share knowledge with the farmers and to learn from them as well. 

Thank you to Louisville Grows, Metro Parks, JCPS Community Schools Program, The Food Literacy Project, Lots of Food, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Old Louisville Community Garden  and the Americana Community Center for your collaborative efforts and spirit throughout this past year. 

The Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District is one of the few districts in KY that is not funded by a millage tax. We serve the most populated county in the state on the smallest budget, relying on funding from Louisville Metro and the state. We were very fortunate to receive additional support from some very generous folks this year and we wanted to send a special thank you to them for helping us serve you all.

Thank you to the National Association of Conservation Districts, the Humana Foundation, the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, Brown Forman and Allegra Marketing for your donation of resources to our district! 

And last but certainly not least, we want to thank our seven dedicated supervisors for their leadership and hard work this year. These folks are out in the community working to improve and preserve our natural resources each day. Thank you to Lisa Dettlinger, Mike Farmer, David Kaelin, Ray Adams, Jennifer Chappell, Calvin Shake and Ked Stanfield for the work you do to keep the district moving forward!

We are so excited about next year and our continued work to serve you all!!

Flooding Prevention and Fallen Leaves
Reduce Flooding by Cleaning Your Storm Drains
Did you know those drains along the street are there to prevent flooding? Did you also know that most of them drain to a creek and eventually to the Ohio river?

One step you can take this fall to improve water quality and flooding in your neighborhood is to keep those drains clean of debris. If the grates are blocked by fallen leaves, the storm drain can get clogged and water can back up, flooding our streets and our homes. Now that the leaves have fallen from our city trees, it is a good time to clear the debris from your storm drain. The leaves can be put in your compost, paper bags or bins to be collected on yard waste removal days.

Even better, just spread the leaves over your yard to break down and add nutrients back to your soil. Just remember, if you like to let the leaves stay, be sure to run over them with a lawn mower to mulch them so they don't cause clogged drains!
Copyright © 2017 Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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