Celebrating Place with Poet George Ella Lyons
Celebrating the place where we’re from, and the people who hail from there, is an important step in recognizing and building on the many assets that can be used to revive and strengthen our communities. WMMT’s Benny Becker travelled to Harlan, KY to join the George Ellabration, a community celebration of Kentucky poet laureate and eastern Kentucky native George Ella Lyons. Lyons has taught poetry to young and old around the state, often starting with a “Where I’m From…” writing exercise. She believes that local cultural celebrations and place-based artistic activities encourage reflection about our roots and the values we want to fight for even in hard times.
Celebrating New Clinch River State Park
The communities of Cleveland, St. Paul and Dungannon, a “string of pearls” along the Clinch River in southwestern Virginia, have a lot to celebrate. A coalition of public and private groups worked over many years to convince Virginia regulators and legislators to designate 130 miles of the Clinch River and a patchwork of land along its banks as a state park, overcoming objections to this unconventional geographic layout.
Participants in the Clinch River Valley Initiative – CRVI – believe the park will help the area realize its potential as a major tourist attraction. WMMT Contributor Rich Kirby takes us to St. Paul to join in the celebration.
Appalachian Seed Swap Sows Sustainable Economy
Can our rich and varied Appalachian food traditions become one source for a sustainable economy in the region? The 4th Annual Appalachian Seed Swap brought Joseph Simcox, from Gardens Across America, to Pikeville for the event. A modern-day “Johnny Appleseed,” Simcox has traveled the world collecting and swapping seeds and believes that Appalachia can be a hub for the revival of small scale, sustainable agriculture. Not only does Simcox share some of the seeds of knowledge he’s collected, but he puts forward his ideas for how Central Appalachia can use agriculture to transform our economy and reclaim our mined lands. He is joined by Joyce Pinson, local farmer and one of the organizers of the highly successful Seed Swap, in this WMMT report from Benny Becker.