AML Program: A Regional Investment Opportunity
Kendall Bilbrey and Eric Dixon speak about their new research report on the Abandoned Mine Lands Program, which includes input from a broad range of stakeholders across the Appalachian region. The report analyzes the history and impact of the AML Program and identifies potential improvements that could provide jobs and other economic benefits in the coalfields. The authors produced this report during their year as Appalachian Transition Fellows – Kendall with the Alliance for Appalachia and Eric with the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center. Download the full report at appalachianlawcenter.org.
Appalachia Speaks: Gwenda Johnson – Rebuilding Community
“Appalachia Speaks” is a new series of video shorts featuring the voices and visions of grassroots leaders in this region. Gwenda Huff Johnson grew up in Eastern Kentucky, one of nine children on a small farm just off a dirt road. As Elliott County Extension Agent for family and consumer science, she teaches about the streams and forests, and works to preserve family farms and build on the area’s cultural assets. Recently she was asked by her county judge to focus her efforts on community economic development. Gwenda speaks about her hopes for the region and the sometimes small, but significant steps to rebuilding community. A production of Making Connections News, a project of Appalshop’s Community Media Initiative and WMMT-FM.
Reclaiming KY River As A Community Resource
Waterways are plentiful in our Appalachian Mountains but unfortunately most of our creeks and rivers are seriously polluted with acid mine drainage, heavy metals, sewage, and more, thus limiting their use for drinking water and recreation. After several visits with former WMMT producer Sylvia Ryerson, her sister Hazel Ryerson decided to create a model for addressing this water pollution for her graduate school thesis in Architecture. She created a design for downtown Whitesburg, KY, that shows how cleaning our water could also create public spaces to re-connect us to our waterways. Ryerson’s project demonstrates the exciting possibilities that could come with additional investment of Abandoned Mine Land Funds in remediation and restoration of land and water.
Appalachian Seed Swap A Success
The 3rd Annual Appalachian Seed Swap was held earlier this spring in Pikeville, KY. A celebration of Appalachia’s unique agricultural heritage, the Seed Swap brought folks together from throughout the region to trade heirloom seeds and to learn more in general about planting, harvesting and processing those home grown fruits and veggies into family foods and salable products. A highlight was the maiden voyage of Kentucky State University’s mobile canning unit in which you can do everything from can beans to cook down sorghum molasses. Lets hope the KSU folks will get that trailer on the road as those seeds from the swap will soon have grown into produce ready for processing.