Environmental Conservation

The “RC” in our acronym stands for “Resource Conservation.” Resource conservation entails land preservation, soil health, water conservation, and more. In our farming and gardening education courses we encourage organic practices and educate growers about the hazards involved with common pesticides. More broadly, our work in land preservation, soil health, and water conservation help to keep Northeast Tennessee the safe, healthy, and beautiful region that it is.

The spaces below provide an overview of our work in this sector as well as our articles related to this work.

Land Preservation

The need for a regional land conservation initiative began when Appalachian RC&D Council members working in Northeast Tennessee started to notice the accelerating disappearance of farmland in the area, and the desire for many residents to take action and protect their family landholdings before it was sold and developed. The Tennessee Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy had been active in the region for many years, but had specific missions that focused on conservation of the high mountain areas and unique and imperiled ecosystems. There was no organization working to protect the family farm.

The Appalachian RC&D Council approached the Land Trust for Tennessee to create a satellite office in Northeast Tennessee to serve land owners in Northeast Tennessee to address to disappearance of farmland and open spaces in the region. In the partnership agreement, The ARC&D staff would work on the ground with landowners and communities and raise their own operating costs, while Land Trust for Tennessee would provide the technical and legal expertise needed to complete conservation easement agreements. Read on about this project here.

Water Conservation

Natural Tunnel Stream channeling at Evergreen Baptist Church, Roan Creek, Johnson County.

Twenty years of responsible fiscal management has made us a regional go-to for administration of environmental state funds that must be implemented through a nonprofit. From 2015-2018 the ARC&D is proud to have been awarded a second “319”  grant from the Environmental Protection Agency and TN Dept. of Agriculture to continue eliminating E.Coli and nitrogen pollution problems in Roan Creek watershed of Johnson County.

Year 2014 marked the close of a five-year “319” grant on Roan Watershed, working closely with Brushy Fork Environmental Consulting. This project benefited many landowners by providing cost-share to stabilize stream banks, leading to less erosion and more filtration of sediment, nitrogen, and pollutants, and make healthier aquatic species habitat. The grant was also used to stabilize streams in advance of installing Doe Mountain’s Adventure Trails system.  We were able to repair 15 stream sites. Read on about this project here.


Envirothon is a national educational program and competition that advocates for high school students to learn about conservation and various environmental subjects. Each year, Appalachian RC&D hosts the regional competition for Environthon. The first place winner from the regional competition goes on to compete at the state level. Read about the latest competition here. 

Farmers Market Guide 2024

 Farmers Markets Guide for northeast Tennessee   This is your guide to the launch of lettuce, the start of strawberries, the kickoff of kale, the beginning of beets! There is so much to be thankful for as we reach the start of Farmers Market season. Opening Days...

Farms to Folks Meet Your Farmer Fair

WHEN: April 16th — 12:00–4:00PM WHERE: Jonesborough Visitors Center Come meet your farmers and farmers market vendors just before market seasons kick off in Northeast Tennessee! At this Meet Your Farmer Fair, ARCD hopes to bring together farmers from across the region...

Farmer Outreach 2020

In the coming year, Farm Fresh Appalachia will offer more educational, promotional, and networking opportunities for farmers, producers, and growers than we ever have before. We hope to reach as many local growers and producers as we can! This page will serve as a...

Inspiration from Distant Lands

On October 24, Appalachian RC&D Council hosted a tour for a study group from the Ukraine for the day. DOBRE (Decentralization Offering Better Results and Efficiency) had been in the States to attend the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)...

Wildfire prevention grants available beginning in August

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry will be providing access to federal grant funding for communities and volunteer fire departments to be better equipped for wildfire. Communities who have developed or are in the process of...