Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Location: Virginia

Just down 58, southwest of our humble Appalachia, is a small mountain community named Eagan. Home to dear friends like Vickie, Sam and Carol, Eagan boasts an amazing community center called the Clearfork Community Institute (CCI), where magical events bring the community together, even amidst local turmoil and the sometimes harsh realities of living in the mountains.

CCI and members of the community have started a new initiative called ACE: Appalachian Community Economics, out of an interest in pursuing creative ways to build an inter-generational local economy that doesn’t rely on coal or coal profits. Continue reading

Hot Dogs and the Collapse of Monoeconomies

One of Build it Up West Virginia’s program coordinators says it best when he describes community development in West Virginia: “I eat more hot dogs than any other vegetarian I know.”  Some of the things that make organizing in central Appalachia so special are also what makes it so frustrating.  The above quote from Joe references the fact that much of what you do here is centered around food.  Church dinners, little old ladies inviting you in for cookies and tea, going to do a presentation in a school and being “treated” to school lunch- it’s all building community through FOOD.  And if you are a vegetarian, then just prepare yourself emotionally to get used to the taste of a slaw and chili hot dog- to not eat this delicacy is considered blasphemy and will get you tossed out of a community meeting faster than anything else.

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