Stories

The stories presented below offer just a few examples of how community involvement combined with leadership and entrepreneurial spirit is sparking a transition throughout the region. Serving the needs of the local communities in which they live, the farmers, teachers, business owners and others in these stories illustrate a commitment to a sustainable, healthy future in Appalachia.

Arts and Culture

Artists Collaborative Theater

The Appalachian region of Kentucky is well known for its strong cultural heritage in areas such as music and crafts. However, very few opportunities exist for eastern Kentuckians to be exposed to theater. More…

Arts and Culture

Pine Mountain Co-op: A Handcrafted Success Story

Browse through the aisles of the Pine Mountain-Letcher County Craft Co-op and you’ll see items such as intricately carved wooden figurines, cornhusk dolls of all sizes and handcrafted cabinets and bookshelves. “We’re really proud of our crafts,” says Ruth Shackleford. More…

Education and Workforce Development

Millard Area Technology Center

Millard Area Technology Center in Pikeville, Kentucky has begun training energy auditors who will work to increase area homes’ energy efficiency. More…

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development

Custard Stand Food Products

The Custard Stand, owned and operated by Arvard “Dee” and Angie Cowger, is a carry-out dairy bar and a producer of hot dog chili located in Webster Springs, WV. Started in 1992, the dairy bar serves over 50,000 hot dogs each year topped with chili from a family recipe… More…

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development

KD’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

Kevin McKee was born into the restaurant business in Whitley County, Kentucky. “I learned the business from the ground up in my parents’ 24-hour restaurant in Williamsburg,” Kevin explains. He went on to become a professional chef… More…

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development

Renick Millworks

Renick Millworks, LLC is a family-owned antique flooring millwork enterprise established in January 2005. The company produces wide-plank solid wood flooring in antique chestnut, oak, and heart pine, as well as engineered chestnut flooring… More…

Health and Community Based Services

Tender Heart Child Care

There is a myth Janet Butcher would like to debunk. “Child care is not babysitting!” she says emphatically. Janet and her husband, Darrell Butcher, are the owners and directors of Tender Heart Child Care in Johnson County, Kentucky. More…

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Sustainable Biomass: A New Vision for Appalachian Land Use

A native of eastern Kentucky and a former underground coal miner, Nathan Hall sees a need for developing alternative energy resources in the mountains. For several years now, he has been working steadily to… More…

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Measures Strengthen Local Child Care 

Juetta and Gene Potter are co-owners of Country Care Daycare in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. The Potters started their child care business in 1996, primarily because they were unable to find child care for their own daughter. More…

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Clean Energy Jobs

9,000 clean energy jobs could be created in Eastern Kentucky and save Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) customers money. Folks from throughout EKPC’s service area and beyond have joined in efforts to persuade the power company to make planning decisions that would create these green jobs. More…

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Organizing for Clean Energy in the Appalachia Coalfields

In the history of coal in America, Harlan County, Kentucky is legendary for its coal heritage, especially for the efforts of its people to organize for better living and working conditions. Labor unrest in the 1930s led to the county being referred to as “Bloody Harlan.”  More…

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Randy Wilson’s Story

Clay County, Kentucky, resident Randy Wilson ran for the board of his electric cooperative on a platform of affordable energy, better energy choices, and good local jobs in 2009. Randy was the first person to oppose a sitting Jackson Energy board member since the co-op was founded in 1938. More…

Sustainable Agriculture

CAFÉ

The members of the CAFÉ (Clinch Appalachian Farmers Enterprise) growers group have been working together in Rogersville, Tennessee for the past two years. They have been cooperating to educate one another, aggregate their produce, buy some of their supplies cooperatively, deliver products and bill their customers. More…

Sustainable Forestry

Foresters Help Build New Forest Economy in Kentucky

Central Appalachia is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including its lush and diverse forests. Healthy forests can meet local needs for food and fiber, create jobs, provide recreation, and protect… More…

Sustainable Forestry

Turns Out, Money DOES Grow on Trees

Seven forest landowners in Kentucky recently received a total of $65,000 for the carbon dioxide their trees absorbed from the air. These people were the first to enroll in MACED’s Forest Opportunities Initiative (FOI), which helps private forest landowners… More…