Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) are working with AppFellow Eric Dixon to create sustainable opportunities targeting skilled workers, including out-of-work coal miners, in Whitesburg, KY. Through policy research and documentation of projects like stream cleanups and reforestation plantings, the project will increase access to funds for environmental restoration projects in central Appalachia, decreasing outmigration, increasing jobs and improving the environment.
AppFellow Mae Humiston, in partnership with Community Farm Alliance, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, are working together to engage low-income populations and Eastern Kentucky communities in building a cohort of local leaders to support the expansion of local healthy food initiatives in the state. This project will address pervasive unemployment, poor nutrition-related health, and poverty in Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley counties by building support for a local food system that sustains the region’s traditional farming practices and builds healthy community support for future planning.
A community-wide energy efficiency program owned by and benefiting the community of Benham, Kentucky, will be developed and implemented through the project led by AppFellow Joshua Outsey, the City of Benham, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and Christian Outreach with Appalachian People. The City of Benham owns its own utility, giving the community the ability to be visionary and innovative in its path to a clean energy future. This fellowship will strengthen and increase community partnerships, assets, awareness and participation, providing a replicable model of a community energy program that includes a revolving loan fund for residential energy efficiency upgrades and an on-bill financing mechanism for retrofitted homes.
Opportunity Threads and the Carolina Textile District, a worker-owned cooperative it helped establish, are working with AppFellow Willa Johnson to support Morganton, North Carolina’s small business community, its existing textile companies and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities within the textile sector. The project expands the creation of new businesses that are locally owned and will root wealth in the community, adding well-paying jobs in the region by developing a value chain network around the outdoor sector, local food systems and holistic medicine practitioners, and by developing communications strategies and increasing the online presence of local mill entrepreneurs to reach a broader consumer base.
AppFellow Carol Davey is joining the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACENet), Athens City Government, American Electric Power and Rural Action to support locally owned businesses in Athens, Ohio, as they shift behaviors toward zero waste, green energy and energy efficiency practices through an exploratory “Green Your Business” initiative. The fellowship will result in an organized system providing local businesses access to information, resources, and capital needed to incorporate zero waste and will support businesses in reducing their carbon footprint and increasing profitability by implementing energy efficient procedures and utilizing renewable energy sources.
A partnership among ReUSe Industries, Ohio’s University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Policy, and Rural Action welcomes AppFellow Zach Swick. Their work together is increasing market access and opportunities to entrepreneurs in Ohio’s Athens and Vinton counties by supporting the development, marketing, and selling of remade products or repair services derived from the waste stream. The fellowship will help establish a community infrastructure for the Appalachian Ohio Zero Waste Initiative, establishing a community tool library, developing products from discarded textiles, and expanding engagement of community members, resulting in increased employment and income-generating opportunities.
AppFellow Tom Torres joins the University of Tennessee Green Initiative and Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development (SEEED) to contribute to energy efficiency by expanding access to new, greener manufactured products among low-income households in East Tennessee and by training inner city, low-income young adults in sustainable jobs. Shifting energy consumption to simultaneously reduce the amount of energy used and carbon emitted frees money currently spent on heating and cooling, leading to more stability and strength for Appalachian communities and creating jobs that can expand democracy in the region.
A project among Appalachian Sustainable Development, Virginia Tech, and AppFellow Derrick Von Kundra supports Central Appalachian food systems by maximizing efficiencies between food hubs, farmers and buyers in southwest Virginia, northeast Tennessee and western North Carolina. The fellowship will increase income opportunities for food producers in the region and improve sustainability by expanding distribution using the existing infrastructure, increasing connectivity between farmers and buyers and developing partnerships and collaborative efforts to support the systems moving forward.
A partnership among the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council, Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, and the City of Spencer is targeting dilapidated and abandoned houses in West Virginia’s Calhoun, Roane, and Wirt counties. App Fellow Adam Hall is researching organizational, financing, and policy options to help address blight and revitalize residential and business opportunities in rural distressed communities. This fellowship will impact the energy efficiency and construction sectors, contribute to infrastructure improvements and workforce development, and will strengthen local capacity by enhancing civic engagement and pride.
As communities in West Virginia work to transition from an economy entrenched in fossil fuel industries to one fueled by energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, a project supported by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Mountain View Solar, the One Foundation, and AppFellow Tyler Cannon will develop public policy initiatives to advance efforts in the state and highlight success stories of individuals and businesses who have achieved energy savings and job creation. The fellowship will create educational materials to impact public policy and broaden volunteer and public support, advocating for economic diversity, sustainability, and green job expansion.
The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center, and the Corey Brothers are working with AppFellow Joey Aloi to transform diet and nutrition offerings at the local hospital, and ultimately throughout the surrounding 12-county region, by supporting herb cultivation in a local food system. The fellowship will expand current partnerships with local farmers to increase capacity, improving the health of hospital patients, employees, and their families by reducing the amount of salt and fat in their diets with the substitution of locally grown herbs and expanding the market for locally grown herbs to ultimately stimulate an increase in the Appalachian agricultural output and increase the local economy through increased sales and employment.
AppFellow Catherine Moore joins the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, and the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Station in a project to develop trusting relationships across sectors in the state, culminating in a statewide dialogue-to-action economic transition initiative. Through an intentional process to convene diverse gatherings of stakeholders, including local coalitions, groups typically left out of local decision-making and groups who do not normally interact, community-based initiatives will be developed and implemented, leading to informed, responsive policymaking at local and state levels; deepened knowledge about local and statewide economic challenges and opportunities; increased utilization of existing resources; new partnerships that align complementary goals with productive practices; and increased capacity for West Virginians to talk and work together on a wide range of issues that affect the quality of life in the state.
The Alliance for Appalachia and Virginia Tech welcome AppFellow Kendall Bilbrey to sustain and build on the momentum of the Appalachia Economic Transition Team, a process developed in 2012 to explore potential federal-level vehicles that can bolster and supplement ongoing economic transition throughout the region. The fellowship will continue to convene stakeholders in an agenda-setting and alignment process and help develop campaign proposals from three legacy-cost campaign ideas that emerged from a 2013 economic transition listening tour, addressing issues that compromise the region’s water, air, and land base, and therefore its health, economies, and quality of life.