appalachia

Crossposted from NRDC's Switchboard

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During the annual Grand Aspirations August Gathering in West Virginia, we went on a tour of Kayford Mountain with the Keepers of the Mountain Foundation. Started by Larry Gibson to protect the mountains and stop mountaintop removal, the foundation and Larry’s family look after a 50 acre piece of land that is surrounded by 7,500 acres of mountaintop removal sites. Larry was offered millions for his property, but refused to give it up. This gift, and his lifelong dedication to stopping MTR has provided the public a rare access point to see the destruction caused by mountaintop removal mining.

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(Panorama by Joe Gorman)

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This is the introductory blog post from the Build it Up! West Virginia Summer of Solutions program!  Grand Aspirations is sharing blog posts from our local programs to keep the powershift community updated on our work.

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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