From determined Virginia cattle farmers to entrepreneurial vegetable growers in eastern Kentucky, the latest issue of The Appalachian Voice showcases the resourcefulness and resilience of our mountain farmers.
In our features, Today’s Farming Frontier looks at how growers are adapting to changing markets. A special three-page section explores Appalachian farm ownership. In A Matter of Self-Preservation, writer Matt Grimley explores how aspiring farmers are struggling for land access and the ways family farmers are passing down the business. He examines the issue from a land ownership point of view in Making it Last, where he studies how aging farmers can plan for their farm’s future.
Former Appalachian Voices editorial intern Davis Wax explores the controversial aftermath of pesticide use in Toxic Legacy: Yesterday’s Pesticides, Today’s Problem. And in Addressing Food Insecurity, writer David Brewer speaks with some of the movers-and-shakers who are working to close the gap between healthy, local food and the consumers who need it most.
In addition to those farm-oriented features, we take several shorter looks at trends in Appalachian agriculture. Our editorial intern Alix John discovers the world of seed-saving and heirloom plants, and Brian Sewell examines how climate change might impact farming in our region, and surveys the growth of Appalachian agritourism.
We were also fortunate to team up with the talented folks at Organic Growers School who answered some gardening questions submitted by our readers and staff. Check out their advice here.
On our politics page, we summarized a few of the federal bills to watch this summer, and included an excerpted version of an insightful interview with Anthony Flaccavento, a farmer and advocate for local agricultural who ran for, but ultimately lost, a hotly contested congressional seat in Virginia’s 9th district last year.
To reflect the need for steady coverage of the environmental impacts of our energy use from all sources, we’ve changed the title of our two-page “Coal Report” to the more inclusive “Energy Report.” Check out the current issue for an idea of what to expect in the future — the same steady coverage of mountaintop removal and all things coal, plus more attention to natural gas, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Don’t miss New Rules Stoke Fear of Fracking on Public Lands and Report Tracks Appalachian Coal’s Continuing Decline, plus Court Rulings Favor Clean Water, a recap of recent positive rulings on the mountaintop removal front, and more news updates.
For our recurring Naturalist’s Notebook column, I caught up with moss entrepreneur Annie Martin, who shared an intriguing look at the miraculous world of mosses. In our Hiking the Highlands column, Paige Campbell takes us on a hike with her young daughters in southwestern Virginia’s Hungry Mother State Park.
Across Appalachia features the writing of our editorial intern Chelsey Fisher, who shares updates about land trust acquisitions in the Blue Ridge, a proposed national monument in West Virginia, cuts to the AmeriCorps Coal Country Team, and more.
Our Inside AV pages feature Appalachian Voices member and Dickenson County, Va., resident Gail Marney and the exploits of our Appalachian Water Watch team, which recently launched a new water monitoring program with SkyTruth. We also celebrate the introduction of the Clean Water Protection Act and thank our dedicated interns from the past academic year.