Engaging & empowering communities
with impactful & sustainable programs.

Program Focus:

AppalCorps is part of the Healthy Futures initiative through the Corporation for National and Community Service, in partnership with Volunteer Tennessee. Our mission is to build healthy futures through education and training opportunities, while supporting local food systems, food sovereignty, and food access. AppalCorps members serve in organizations across Tennessee helping to implement backyard gardening programs, support farmers and farmers markets, teach youth about healthy eating habits, expand food distribution programs serving our most at risk populations, and much more. 

AppalCorps aims to foster volunteerism and community building by following these four core principles:


All community members are included in program development to ensure that programming meets the needs of the whole community and service population.



Community and service members build confidence through training and education which strengthens the community and empowers all who are involved.



Programs support community engagement, allowing for community and service members to witness the direct and lasting positive impact of their work.



In everything we do, we must strive to be a positive force in our communities. Programming is built sustainably, always building up the communities we serve.

Rachel Wheeler, AppalCorps Program Director

Rachel first joined the ARC&D in 2015 as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Before that she was a local arts co-op 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 is 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.

Connect: 423-427-0547 /

2020 Service Members

Charlesey Charlton-McCallister

Charlesey grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians in Northeast Tennessee, and she says that her childhood continues to have a profound impact on her life as an adult. Her grandmother’s family moved down from the mountains to escape poverty in the 1940s. 

After receiving her bachelors in Agriculture and Art from MTSU, she explored local opportunities in agriculture for a couple of years before pursuing her MFA in Printmaking. Her thesis, “Taken of the Land” explored her life in Appalachia on a family farm where the culture was rich and deeply ingrained in her life and work. 
Afterwards, Charlesey taught part time at Northeast State Community College while she also took over operations of the family farm where she managed 60 head of beef cattle. Today she still runs the family farm, which has since shifted from beef to 200 head of sheep. In addition, she still teaches college-level art.

Charlesey is most excited about the chance to have a positive impact on local youth, particularly those interested in agriculture and food production. Exposure to agriculture in this area is very important, and she says that if she can play a small role in educating young people of the importance of where food comes from she will have met her goals for her Service with Rural Resources. 

Emily Watson

Emily grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in North Texas and attended Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. There she majored in Animal Science. Shortly after graduation, she moved to East Tennessee and worked at Tractor Supply Co. along with a few local farms.

In her second year in Tennessee, she became involved with Jonesborough Locally Grown, and now serves at Jonesborough Farmers Market and Boone Street Market. During her service year with AppalCorps, she is most excited about being able to continue to connect farmers, food, and the community through their online farmers market.

Jonesborough Farmers Market’s online market came into stark focus this year when COVID-19 threatened to halt farmers markets – which would have removed a vital source of local food for hundreds of weekly customers. Since launching the online market, Jonesborough Locally Grown has reached more customers week after week and continues to connect local consumers with fresh local food.

Katie Ritchie

Katie was born in Brandon, Mississippi, and was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She enjoys writing poetry, and is proud to have had her work published in TN Magazine in August, 2020.

She currently attends Walters State Community College where she studies General Studies until she decides what career path she wants to pursue. She is considering studying Social Work.

Last year she began volunteering with the Mooresburg Community Association, which is where she will serve through AppalCorps. She is excited to have the opportunity to be out in the public really seeing the difference the MCA’s programs are having on the community. She is also excited to see what she will learn through AppalCorps that she can bring to her community through her work at MCA.

Moorseburg Community Association is committed to responding to issues of hunger and social isolation. They provide services to locals to help them live independent lives. These services include home delivered meals and in-house dining, recreational activities, and transportation to medical appointments. 

Become a Member

AmeriCorps Service Members make positive impact in the communities where they serve.

Service Member Benefits

  • Professional development
  • Community service
  • Living allowance: $14,279
  • Education Award: $6,195 (after completion of one year of service)
  • Childcare Coverage
  • Student Loan Forbearance

Service Member Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States
  • Must be at least 17 years of age
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Must agree to and pass a criminal history background check
    Applicants are immediately disqualified from placement in the program if convicted of murdeer, a violent crime, or are listed as a sex offender. The ARCD prohibits enrollment of anyone with a felony or criminal conviction, or anyone on probation or facing charges at the time of the application.
Email Us

Become a Host Site

AppalCorps is a grant-funded, cost-share program through Volunteer Tennessee and the Corporation for National & Community Services

Host Site Benefits

  • Placement of a Service Member for one year with a cost-share amount of $7,500 per member, per year
  • Support for Members from the AppalCorps Program Director
  • Full vetting of Service Member through background checks
  • Training of Service Members before start of service
  • Access to project advisement throughout the service year

Host Site Requirements

  • Must be located in the state of Tennessee
  • Must be a government entity, school system, or non-profit organization
  • Maintain 501(c)3 status throughout the service year
  • Must actively recruit Service Members to serve at their site
  • Ability to supervise Service Member
Email Us