This blog is a place to find and share stories and resources related to economic transition and community economic development work in Appalachia. You’ll find everything from personal perspectives to research reports to informational webinars. You can also contribute stories or resources from your work that you think can benefit others, using the guest post option. If you’re looking for a particular post or interested in a sector or topic, you can search or sort by category in the toolbar on the right.


 

Berea Kids Eat – Healthy Food Access in Appalachia

  The Central Appalachian Network (CAN) and its partners have been working to improve access to healthy food for individuals and families in the Central Appalachian region through local initiatives in their communities. Over the past year, six of these healthy food access initiatives have been published as case studies through a partnership between CAN […]

Read More

A Seat at the Table: Embracing Diversity

A Seat at the Table is a series of community dinners that bring people together to share meals and lives. Previous dinners have centered on topics such as economic development, LGBTQ history and rights, and cultural diversity. This series of four dinners will focus on communities that have often been marginalized in Perry County, and will include oral histories and heritage cooking classes. We held our first event on May 1st, with a tamale making class, and 2nd, with a community dinner.

Read More

2018 Regional Peer-to-Peer Convening Highlights

In November of 2018 the Central Appalachian Network held its first Regional Peer-to-Peer Convening at Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia. Approximately 115 people attended the event, including economic development practitioners, community change makers, funders, and sector experts working in the Central Appalachian region. Discussions were focused on individual sectors and topics, and on cross-cutting issues affecting the equitable transition of the Central Appalachian region. The three concurrent session tracks focused on the three topics of CAN’s working groups: Food and Agriculture Systems, Clean Energy, and Creative Placemaking.

Read More

Report: Creative Placemaking in Central Appalachia

Creative placemaking has gained steady momentum across the country and region as an approach that can drive cross-sector engagement and community transformation, which is critical to a just transition in Central Appalachia.The Central Appalachian Network commissioned this scan of creative placemaking in Central Appalachia in order to understand what creative placemaking looks like on the ground, assess the state of the field regionally, offer ideas to strengthen and accelerate current momentum, and ultimately bring more attention and resources to advance the approach of creative placemaking in the region.

Read More

Winding Road Stories: Sunflower Bakery (Appalachian Ohio)

Sunflower Bakery sits on a busy Nelsonville Public Square. There is a sense of vibrancy here: as I walk down the street, older and younger couples pass by, workers are cleaning up the square’s central fountain, and cars slowly drive past. I step into the bakery, and it is bright and warm. The smell of fresh bread hits me as soon as I open the door. I am greeted by two women, Rosemary behind the counter, and Liz Florentino, the owner. 

Read More

HERBalachia: Creative Placemaking in Unicoi County, TN

HERBalachia welcomed our first class of herbal students in 2017. Fourteen of those 30 students were medical professionals, which indicated to me that herbs appeal to more than gardening hobbyists and flower children.  Since our first year, the school has expanded to include a second training year for health professionals, and this year we will offer our community the Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival on September 7.

Read More

A Messaging Toolkit for Talking About Clean Energy in Appalachia

The future of clean energy in Appalachia depends in large part on collective buy-in from diverse parties – from state regulators and local community members, to utilities and workforce development networks. Advocates are in need of a common language and message that resonates across the board and unifies these vested interests behind clean energy. To that end, CAN’s Clean Energy Practitioner Network commissioned the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TNAEBC) to develop a best-practices guide to clean energy advocacy.

Read More

Healthy food access in Appalachia – summary video!

Over the months leading up to this past winter, I was given the opportunity to work with CAN and their many partner organizations across the Appalachian region to highlight the work they are doing to improve healthy food access in their communities. I captured these initiatives through a number of short videos, each highlighting a different project described in recently completed case studies conducted and published by CAN and the Appalachian Funders Network.

Read More