Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

Rebuilding of Appalachian Harvest's packing, grading facility nearing completion

By Wes Bunch

Update 2019: Appalachian Sustainable Development after wasting millions of dollars and its founder leaving under odd circumstances is little more than an organic farmers co-op. The picture above shows the results.

They are connected with Appalachian Harvest. How many jobs they actually created and who really benefits is unknown. Their impact is miniscule at best. They are connected with a number of farmers markets, but their Duffield is only open Thursdays 4-7 PM June-October.

Their website is I wish them luck.

DUFFIELD - A little more than a year after being lost to fire, the rebuilding of the Appalachian Harvest Packing and Grading Facility is nearing completion at its new location in the Duffield Regional Industrial Park.

Owned by Appalachian Sustainable Development, the new $750,000, 15,000-square-foot facility is where all of the nonprofit's Appalachian Harvest brand of organic produce will be washed, packaged and distributed, ASD Business Operations Manager Kathlyn Terry said.

The original Appalachian Harvest facility, a converted barn in Stickleyville, burned down in May 2007 due to an electrical problem and more than 40,000 wax-coated cardboard boxes being in the building. Since then, the company has operated out of a temporary facility in Hiltons. Although the building itself is finished, ASD is waiting for a storage cooler to be completed and phase three electrical work to be done before full-scale production can begin. Currently, produce brought to the facility is in refrigerated trucks donated by local supermarkets. The finished facility has been a long time coming, Terry said, especially after a rough year in 2007.

"The challenge last year was threefold," she said. "The fire, drought and freeze we had just hit us pretty hard financially." More than 50 farmers in Scott, Lee, Washington and surrounding counties provide Appalachian Harvest with a variety of organic produce ranging from tomatoes to squash and zucchini. The produce is then marketed and sold to large supermarket chains like Food City, Ingles and Whole Foods, as well as some smaller stores.

ASD works through Appalachian Harvest to help educate and assist farmers interested in learning to grow organic produce, Terry said. It provides quality training and holds workshops and one-on-one consultations to help farmers make the most of their crops. "We try to get farmers to diversify and not put all of their eggs in one basket," she said. "Because if you're growing two or three crops, and you have trouble with one, hopefully the other two will be good. It's a way we try to spread the risk."

The Virginia Tobacco Commission gave $425,000 to assist with the rebuild because of the help Appalachian Harvest provides for area farmers, commission member and Delegate Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, said. "We think it's a good opportunity for our farming community to raise organic vegetables and get into that market," he said. "It's a really good market for folks to get into. Our farmers can make some money, and they really have done a good marketing plan for them."

The extra income provided by growing organic produce could help keep farming in the area from becoming a thing of the past. "It helps supplement their income and helps them move to other crops other than tobacco," he said. "We need to give some incentives for folks to stay on the farm. We want to make sure that family farm is kept in the family, and this is how we can do that."

Copyright Kingsport Times-News Published July 9th, 2008

More public dollars looted to underwrite The Falls development

by Lewis Loflin

Bristol Virginia utilities is a supposedly public owned utility that supplies water electricity etc. to Bristol Virginia and surrounding areas. Like other public institutions it has been infiltrated by political corruption.

The Bristol Herald Courier is reporting on December 16, 2014 that the utility is supposed to adopt new policies over abusive use company credit cards, free meals for their friends, etc.

The problem is the political appointees to the board are robbing the rate payers blind. This has included $10,000 to underwrite a music program, and $200,000 in economic development grants used to underwrite a music concert.

Now under political pressure from the City and its crony capitalism economic development authority that's housed in the same building ratepayers are going to be forced to subsidize more freebies for the $100 million taxpayer funded Falls retail development. And that's just what we know of.

This includes over $72,000 to install electrical equipment. The problem is the Bristol Virginia is broke and its bond rating is nosediving and had to be bailed out by the State taxpayers. So their inability to get enough corporate welfare to fill the pockets of their friends and business associates forces them to go behind-the-scenes to get the money.

That has been a long-established dirty trick in this community to cost-shift corporate welfare and business incentives onto the public utility and charge it back to ratepayers.

In addition the Bristol Herald Courier is reporting on November 26, 2014 that Bristol sold another $34 million in revenue bonds to pay off their friends and Cabela's. As they reported the city has had to get by a number of legal challenges and lawsuits. Politicians simply change the law to do what they want.

And that is the danger of this whole system where politicians can simply make up laws on-the-fly to justify anything they want to do.

Even more controversial is a few miles down I81 the $30 million taxpayer underwritten Bass Pro shop development will be directly competing with Cabela's and has led to bitter fighting between the two Bristol's trying to lure each other's retailers to jump the state line.

Again there is no economic development program in a region - public money is used as a political slush fund to reward the rich and connected. That's why after spending tens of millions of dollars Bristol and surrounding region still ranks near the bottom of every social demographic and state. Crony capitalism doesn't work and it's time to end it.

See article archive History of Local Poverty

Ralph Stanley Museum.

"The most corrupt region is Southwest Virginia...more indictments for political and public office corruption have happened in this region than all other parts of the state combined." Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies.

"It's a little-known fact that roughly 20 percent of the children in Southwest Virginia live below the poverty line and go hungry every night." Kevin Crutchfield, President Alpha Natural Resources, January 15, 2009

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