Beyond Coal: Imagining Appalachia’s Future


“We told them, ‘Quit thinking of yourselves as unemployed coal workers; you’re technology workers,’” said Rusty Justice, a founder of BitSource. He called his pep talks “reimagination training.”

Nearly 13,000 coal jobs — and countless more in related industries — have disappeared in Kentucky since President Obama took office; coal employment is at its lowest level since 1898…

The founders of BitSource are not the only ones thinking creatively; there are nascent efforts in craft agriculture and energy efficiency as well. These initiatives will not cure central Appalachia’s economic woes; at BitSource, Mr. Harrison was among 1,000 laid-off miners who applied for 10 jobs…

Out-of-work Kentuckians are increasingly turning to farming “out of necessity,” said Martin Richards, who runs Kentucky’s Community Farm Alliance… Mr. Richards says twice as many farmers participate as did five years ago.


Photo via mjtmail


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