Heritage Foxfire Garden Revitalized by Megan Connolly

On Saturday, April 2, the dormant Foxfire Heritage Garden came back to life.  Nine volunteers joined together to remove locust saplings, brambles and weeds from the overgrown Heritage Garden.  The Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center located in Mountain City, GA is a celebration of Appalachian culture.  In 1966, an English high school teacher in Rabun County, in an effort to get his students more engaged, created the Foxfire project.  To hone their listening and writing skills, students started interviewing family members and neighbors.  The interviews were written out and compiled into magazines which have now become best-selling books that chronicle the pioneer era of the southern Appalachian region.  Foxfire classes still continue at Rabun County High School. As part of the revitalization project, I am currently reading through Foxfire archives and trying to piece together what a traditional southern Appalachian garden looked like.  A fellow volunteer and I are working on sourcing native, heirloom seeds from the area to be planted in the garden. This summer, Rabun County High School students will help create educational material about traditional gardening practices to be handed out to the public as part of the self-guided tour that the museum offers.  In case you were curious about the name Foxfire, it is a bioluminescent fungus commonly found on rotting wood in the mountain region. Although many of the folks that have contributed to Foxfire have passed on, their legacy still glows in the Foxfire books.  With the help of the local community and Rabun County High School Foxfire students, the collected seeds will be planted in the Heritage garden on Saturday, May 7th, which coincides with the museum’s 50th Anniversary Heritage Festival.

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