About the ARC&D

  • “The ARC&D is the only organization that can unite regional cooperation to promote environmental issues and markets for farmers.”
  • “ARC&D continues on in its work to help the people and region of Appalachia.”
  • “The ARC&D works with other organizations and people to enrich our community and help individuals.”

    The above quotes are from Board Members when asked to answer, “what is the greatest strength of the ARCD?

Annual Report for 2017, view here

Annual Report for 2016, view here

Annual Report for 2015, download here: newsletter-end-of-2015-web.pdf

Mid-Year Report of 2015 for download here: NewsletterJuly2015

Annual Report for 2014 for download here: AnnualNews2014

Annual Report 2012 for download here: AnnualReport2012

What is “RC&D”?

Appalachian RC&D Service Region

The Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council is 501(c) (3) non-profit organization chartered in 1994 as a volunteer-based agency. We currently have a 20-member Board with trustees from each of the six counties we serve: Carter, Greene, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington.


Our mission is to improve rural economy through conservation of natural resources.

Through community leadership and enhanced educational opportunities we work tirelessly to preserve our heritage, promote local growers/producers and protect the lands of past generations so that future generations may be able to enjoy the natural wonders our region has to offer.

RC&D Councils are a national program established by Federal Public Law in 1962 with responsibilities assigned to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (the USDA’s NRCS).  The RC&D program faced an unprecedented challenge in 2011 when Congressional budget cuts severed federal dollars from the NRCS to support RC&Ds nationwide.  While NRCS remains a valuable RC&D partner, Councils across the nation, including the Appalachian RC&D, have had to transition to a new situation with staffing and operations.

RC&D Councils have never been governmental agencies.  The Appalachian RC&D remains a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Our Council is in a strong financial position and we are actively seeking funding and partnerships, and volunteers, to keep multi-year funding in place for our programs.



Awarded Oustanding RC&D Council of 2015 by the TN RC&D Association.

Awarded Outstanding RC&D Council 2015 by the TN RC&D Association.

2018-19 Board of Directors: 

  • Roy Settle, Chairman
  • Lynice Broyles, Vice-Chair
  • Charles Baines, Treasurer
  • Heidi Davis, Secretary
  • Bonnie MacDonald
  • Greg Lynch
  • Johnny Lynch
  • Kenny Smith
  • Leon Humphrey
  • Linda Crouch-McCreadie
  • Mark Stevens
  • Mary Faulkner
  • Patrick Stern
  • Paul Monk
  • Richard Calkins
  • Romayne St. John
  • Ron Dawson
  • Wayne Davis



Executive Director, Emily Bidgood (M.S. Ecology and Environment, University Chapel Hill) began her service with the ARC&D as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2012. At that time she was the sole paid person in the office, supported by many volunteers. In 2013 after the ARC&D’s 20th anniversary celebrations she transitioned into being salaried staff. She was promoted to Executive Director in 2015. As Director she reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for all project management, grant reporting, fundraising, accounting, and the Quilt Trail agritourism network (quilttrail.org). And she is still inspired by the volunteers that donate 1,500+ hours every year to the ARC&D. Before moving to Tennessee, Emily worked in agricultural lands conservation with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. With her husband and son she loves to be outside more than inside, especially in the beautiful mountains and valleys and rivers of northeast Tennessee. Email apprcd@gmail.com

Beginning Farmer Services Director, Lexy Close, is a native of NE TN with a Masters from Clark University. After 7 months WWOOFing in Europe, Close returned home to apply her passion for sustainability by improving rural economies through sustainable agriculture. She co-founded the community organization “Build It Up East Tennessee”, which since 2012 has established three vibrant community gardens in low-income neighborhoods. Their growers cooperative produces thousands of pounds of food each year and Lexy is responsible for much of this coordination and coaching. She came onto the ARC&D team as the Local Food Promotion Coordinator and grew to be a regional expert on local food markets and products. Now she is the director of the Field School, the beginning farmer training program & network that has been growing and succeeding in educating and preparing new farmers in 2015. The Appalachian Farmacy coalition is under her purview as well. Email alexis@arcd.org.


Farm Fresh Appalachia Coordinator, Rachel Wheeler, first joined the ARC&D in 2016 as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Before that she was a local arts coop business owner in downtown Bristol, and for a decade she educated hundreds of tourists and locals as an environmental tour guide on the Nolichucky River. She is managing the ARC&D’s USDA Farmers Market Promotion project, a 3-year program in partnership with several organizations. Her experience in program management, community leadership, event logistics, marketing and public communications, and agritourism development will be put to good use connecting consumers of the greater Tricities with their local farms—through CSAs, farm stands, farmers markets, on-farm sales and more. She is a native of Bristol TN-VA. Email rachel@arcd.org 


Amy Davis is our 2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA with TN FarmLink and the Field School. Meet Amy here at her welcome blog post! The rewards of working for the 2017 season with TnT Farm & Greenhouse in VA inspired her to continue to work in the local food and farm movement. With www.tnfarmlink.org program (and see https://www.facebook.com/TNFarmLink/) she will be showing the region how the website connects new farmers with access to working farmland. Email amy@arcd.org.




Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits federally assigned programs from discriminating based on race, color or national origin. The Appalachian RC&D Council also requires that its services and programs be offered to all eligible persons regardless of race, color or national origin, age, gender, religion or sexual orientation.