To conserve natural resources and improve rural economies through community leadership and enhanced educational opportunities.
Executive Director, Susan McKinney, is a native of Washington County, Tennessee, where she grew up on a family farm that raised beef cattle, honey bees, fruits and vegetables, and had a small apple orchard. She first became involved with Appalachian RC&D through the Field School, and after completing the course, successfully put a portion of the family farm into market production, growing chemical-free fruits and vegetables. With a background in nonprofit management, Susan is pleased to be part of an organization that values the the lands and the people of the Appalachian region. She and her husband love spending time cycling, hiking, swimming, and generally spending time outside surrounded by the natural beauty of the Upper East Tennessee region. Susan holds Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art & Design.
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.
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.
Marketing & Communications Director, Kayla Tucker, joined the ARC&D in 2018. Prior to joining ARC&D, she had worked in the marketing industry in various roles since graduating from East Tennessee State University in 2014. At ETSU she studied Marketing and Management and interned at Engage Kingsport and AccelNow (two non-profits in Kingsport). Those internships sparked a desire to help the economy of our region to continue to grow. At ARC&D, Kayla is responsible for public and media relations, social media, external communications, and more. Essentially, she is responsible for telling our story. She is a native of Fall Branch, TN.
2018-19 Board of Directors
- Roy Settle, Chairman
- Lynice Broyles, Vice-Chair
- Charles Baines, Treasurer
- Heidi Davis, Secretary
- Bonnie MacDonald
- Johnny Lynch
- Kenny Smith
- Linda Crouch-McCreadie
- Mark Stevans
- Mary Faulkner
- Patrick Stern
- Paul Monk
- Richard Calkins
- Romayne St. John
- Ron Dawson
- Wayne Davis
What does “RC&D” mean?
Resource Conservation & Development
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.
Mission: To conserve natural resources and improve rural economies 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.
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.