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. 

Envirothon….25 years of teamwork outdoors

Envirothon….25 years of teamwork outdoors

For 25 years every spring, around 100 high school students, typically from FFA clubs or Ecoloy clubs, spend a day practicing valuable skills in natural resource management, forestry, wildlife, decision-making, teamwork, and sustainable economic development. The...

Farmer’s Marketing: Field School Feb 8th

At February 8th’s Field School, we explored markets and marketing methods. A farmer panel of Adam Borden of Sunset View Farm, Jamie Dove of River Creek Farm and Main Street Pizza, and Rodney Webb of Salamander Springs Gardens discussed their personal experiences with...

Farms Attending the 2018 Johnson City CSA Fair

Farms Attending the 2018 Johnson City CSA Fair We live in such a local food rich area!  The CSA Fair is a wonderful way to explore all of the options our farms have to offer. This year, the Johnson City Fair will include 8 farms and producers.  This list gives just a...

Fun with Farm Finance

Fun with Farm Finance

...may not be our sexiest Field School workshop, but getting a handle on your farm’s finances is crucial for the long term sustainability of your farm. A small farm is a small business! While financial planning may seem daunting, knowing what resources are available...

Thank You 2017

Thank You 2017

from Emily Bidgood, Executive Director Highlights and many Thank Yous to follow....   What an exciting year for us who have the privilege of working and volunteering through the Appalachian RC&D Council! This year has shown me that by working together with...

Field School: The Chicken Edition

On December 14th, the Livestock track of our Field School took a look at the ups, downs, and intricacies of farming poultry on a small scale. A farmer panel consisting of Elizabeth Malayter (JEM Farm, Rogersville), David Banks (Free Reign Farm, Elizabethton), and Tony...

ARC&D is awarded $500K to Boost Farm Markets

Appalachian RC&D Council –Awarded $500k to Boost Farmers Markets Across the Region November 30, 2017 Johnson City, TN Farmers Markets in Northeast TN and Southwest Virginia just received a big boost through a grant award of almost half a million dollars under the...

Selecting Your Seed Companies

Selecting Your Seed Companies

The days are short and the desire to sit on the couch while sipping a cup of hot cocoa is very strong!  Don’t just watch TV, however, with seed catalogs filling up your mailbox, it’s time to start planning your crops for next year!  (Okay, maybe watch a little TV...