weekly lessons in the Food Forest, ages 6-12

Teen 'earn2learn' interns pack a CSA order

Teen 'earn2learn' interns with Kiran and Seeyle before Mountain Masala Curry Fundraiser

22 years of Envirothon - and Jonesborough team won state, went to Canada

Field School 2016 - youngest participants are 15 and 19

Our assets grow from our local hands and local lands, drawing from the oldest mountains in the world. Yet amidst the richness, one in five northeast Tennesseans live in poverty. With more than one out of every five children struggling with obesity, in 2011, Tennessee ranked 5th in the nation for childhood obesity rates. We are losing family farms and fertile soils at a rate of 10% a year to development. And the average farmer in our region is over 60 years of age. What will our rural landscape look like in 20 years? Who will grow our food in 20 years and where will it come from? How will we work together to make fresh nutritious food available and affordable to everyone? The Appalachian RC&D Council is committed to helping our region meet these challenges and work toward a sustainable farm culture in the future.</p> <p> <p><b>Kids</b> remain central in this work, as it has been for 20 years. This year we began working with three amazing teachers, Wenny Elrod, Shae Keane, and Sheri Cooper, implementing nature and nutrition lessons with youth, and employing teens interns, across Johnson City thanks to a two-year grant from the Washington County Community Foundation. Shae tells us, “<i> There are indeed immense food disconnections that exists amongst this generation. When asked where cheese comes from, one child answered: from a cheetah. Another answered: from Cheetos. When asked where the meat on hamburger comes from, some children answered that they did not know. One answered: pig. Another answered: camel. This is, to me, one of the most important reasons that we have created the Sowing Seeds two-year program: to reconnect children in relationships with their foods, in hopes that this will have a positive rippling effect in their health, well-being, sense of community, and their lives overall.</i>” <p> Through Sowing Seeds and many other programs, the Appalachian RC&D and its volunteers (over 1,500 volunteer hours logged this year!) , supporters, staff, AmeriCorps have made a lot of progress and touched many lives in 2016. <p>Read more stories on our blog to learn how people are putting commitment into action for a sustainable local future. <p>There are some cool people doing cool things out there! <p> We look forward to weaving more stories with you in 2017. <p> Consider donating today online via the Donate link at the top of the webpage: <b>$25</b> covers one nature and nutrition class for our Sowing Seeds kids; </b>$50</b> sponsors one Food Forest community dinner; <b>$75</b> sponsors one Field School beginning farmer. All donations make a big difference, here, locally. Thank you.

Committed to outdoor youth empowerment for 20 years

Conservation Camp, 4th graders, 1995