Shaping Our Appalachian Region, (SOAR) is an initiative by Governor Steve Brashear and Congressman Hal Rogers to provide a framework for the people of Eastern Kentucky to have a voice in doing just that, Shaping Our Appalachian Region. SOAR was announced in Pikeville, Kentucky in December 2013 at the Pikeville EXPO Center to a gathering of over 1,500 concerned citizens. At that meeting this huge crowd was broken down into working groups in the afternoon to begin the conversation. In December, Agriculture did not have a dedicated group, but was included with Tourism. Agriculture was so prevalent in the discussions of that group and other groups, the SOAR Executive Committee responded and created a separate group for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Daniel Wilson, Wolfe County Extension Agent was appointed to head the Working Group for Agriculture, Community and Regional Foods and Natural Resources. I am honored to represent Community Farm Alliance and be a part of this working group. The charge of the working group is to conduct Listening Sessions across the SOAR region and submit a plan to the Executive Committee in September. Our first session was in Morehead, Kentucky and I am always happy to see David Cooke, representing Grow Appalachia as a new member of the working group. The major theme of this session was CATTLE, it was good for me to learn more about possibilities there.
Committee members present were myself, Dean Craft, Mountain Cattleman’s Association President/Farmer and Ryan Jones, Project Coordinator for Alltech in Pikeville.
Thanks to Hilary for doing a fantastic job capturing the comments from the evening, which you can read below if you would like to hear what the folks in this region are saying about the possibilities in Agriculture for EKY.
I was happy to spend the afternoon with our own Kathy Curtis, Saint Vincent Mission Grow Appalachia Coordinator from Floyd County. We had a great lunch at Summit City and spent the afternoon bouncing ideas around. Kathy is always the voice of reason and inspiration in the room.
If you would like to attend SOAR Listening Sessions in your area, please visit the SOAR website at http://www.soar-ky.org/ to see upcoming Listening Session dates and learn more about how to be involved.