Working for a more just and sustainable Appalachia.

The Central Appalachian Network (CAN)’s mission is to develop and deploy economic strategies that build wealth in local communities, conserve natural and cultural resources, and empower marginalized communities. We work in collaboration across sectors, partnering with other non-profits, community groups, funders, educational institutions, local government, and private business. CAN actively pursues economic transition in Central Appalachian communities through a variety of economic sectors and market-based strategies, and currently focuses on:

Food Systems Clean Energy Creative Placemaking

How We Work

CAN is a network of networks, anchored by a Steering Committee of 7 non-profit organizations. CAN’s sector-focused networks coordinate regional analysis and strategies in areas like Food & Ag, Clean Energy, and Creative Placemaking. Our network of practitioner partners includes over 50 different organizations working on community economic development, including non-profits, local government agencies, lenders, community groups, social enterprises, and academic institutions. CAN’s roles include supporting peer-to-peer learning, collaborative strategies, organizational capacity-building, cross-sector partnership, demonstration projects, in-person convening, and field-building research & publications.

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Events & Happenings

There is a lot happening across our region every day! To help share, promote, and keep track of all the activities CAN partners are involved in, use this shared calendar to share information about your upcoming events and learn about other happenings.

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Stories & Resources

New White Paper: Clean Energy Investment In Appalachia

CLEAN energy development in Appalachia is an important part of the REGION'S transition to a more just, sustainable, and resilient economy. Investment is a major barrier to an otherwise promising solar sector. What can be done? This white paper examines the current barriers to investment and proposes a focus on "catalytic capital" to unlock more solar investment in the region and accelerate the clean energy sector in Appalachia.

Read MoreIn Clean Energy, Climate Change, Guest Post, Policy, Publication, Research

2019 CAN Regional Peer-to-Peer Convening

This past November, the Central Appalachian Network hosted its 2nd Regional Peer-to-Peer Convening at Tamarack in Beckley, WV. Over 100 […]

Read MoreIn Clean Energy, Creative Placemaking, Equity, Food systems, Stories

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Clean Energy Creative Placemaking Food Hub Food systems Guest Post Healthy Food Access Publication Public Health Research Stories Value Chains

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5 hours ago


Looking for a small business to support this week? Here’s one in Whitesburg that offers online sales!

Rod Back opened Rustic Rooster Custom Metal in 2017.

After graduating with a teaching certification at a time when many teachers were being laid off, he spent several years working in the coal and manufacturing industries before accepting a position to teach welding at Letcher County High School.

In his classes, they make various products like signs and firepits for the community. Enjoying the work so much, Rod decided to open up a private business right in his own backyard.

Read more of his story here: and purchase something if you’re able!

#teamkentucky #shoplocalkentucky
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11 hours ago

Rural Action

Rural Action now owns the worst acid mine discharge in the state of Ohio.

And we couldn’t be happier.

The site, in Truetown in Athens County, produces 988 gallons of acid mine drainage (AMD) per minute — more than 2 million pounds of iron oxide per year. That’s why the water in the accompanying photo of the site is running orange as it flows toward Sunday Creek.

While some see pollution in this picture, we see an asset. True Pigments, LLC, a social enterprise of Rural Action, plans to build a facility on this land that will extract the iron oxide from the discharge to create pigment that can be used in paint and other products. The result: Clean water flowing into Sunday Creek and a marketable product that can be sold to fund further watershed cleanups.

If this sounds too good to be true, try it yourself. We worked with Gamblin Artists Colors to create a limited release oil paint set called Reclaimed Earth Colors made from iron oxide from Sunday Creek.

Click here to get your own paint set:
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16 hours ago


Two webinar opportunities this week for small business owners ➡️ Today is about employee & customer safety; Thursday is an overview unemployment for employers.Did you know SOAR has a CDC Epidemiologist on our team in Appalachia KY? Dr. Margo Riggs will kick off our Business As Unusual Virtual Convening Series tomorrow at 11 a.m. She'll provide information on how to keep your workplace safe during #COVID19. Registration is FREE. Register now at #TeamKentucky #TogetherKy #HealthyAtHome #thereisafuture #appalachia Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, One East Kentucky, Harlan County, Ky. Chamber of Commerce, Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, London-Laurel Co. Economic Development Authority, Somerset Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, Ashland Alliance, Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, Paintsville/Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, ... See MoreSee Less

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