Appalachian Engineering


“I call it low-impact farming,” says Grayson Samples, referring to his multiple projects. Grayson and his family, wife Kimberly and daughters Emma and Amelia, live in the small town of Lost Creek, West Virginia on a third of an acre, sandwiched between Lost Creek Road and Interstate 79. Over the past 14 years, the Samples have gradually transformed their yard into a series of beds and gardens, with room left over for a chicken coop, beehives, and fruit trees. Most of the family’s yard is under some sort of cultivation, but Grayson is able to manage most of the projects by working for an hour or two each evening.

Both Kimberly and Grayson come from families that, like many West Virginian families, practiced sustenance farming. Although the Samples do not rely on the food that they produce, both Kimberly and Grayson see their lifestyle as a continuation of a long tradition, one that they have already passed down to their daughters.

“They [Emma and Amelia] always bring up this stuff [like] hunting mushrooms,” says Grayson. “Emma brings this stuff up in the springtime, even though she doesn’t eat them. She’s still got an eagle eye, so she can find them. It gears their minds toward that stuff a little bit.”

Hear more from Grayson in Voices of Farming.