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Appalachian Sustainable Development Still Trying to Become Sustainable

by Lewis Loflin

Kathlyn Terry, Appalachian Sustainable Development's new executive is still trying to put the organization on sound footing. The product of millions in government grants and pork-barrel politics, the Abingdon-based agency is fighting to develop a real business plan. Founder Anthony Flaccavento left sometime early last year and the website was down for months. See A Critical Look at Appalachian Sustainable Development.

They're trying to setup a network of buyers for organic produce in a region that frankly isn't profitable to farm. Most farms here sell either cattle or deal in declining welfare crops such as tobacco. But according to Ms. Terry who claims the program a success regardless of the millions of tax dollars wasted, "must be tweaked so it relies less on grants and private donations and more on its own revenues." I guess they were very successful in grant-farming and milking the taxpayers.

It's hoped their "new panel of business experts" will turn this mess around. She also hopes their money losing Learning Landscapes and Healthy Families-Family Farms (gives food to food banks) programs can become financially healthy. Without a steady stream of tax dollars, I guess this little "social justice" experiment went belly up.

Their little Sustainable Woods timber operation in Dickinson County Virginia went bust while she was "the business operations manager for its Appalachian Harvest and Sustainable Woods programs since 2006." With that kind of business record they will do just fine. Also see Sustainable Woods wood-processing facility in Castlewood not sustainable. Ref. BHC September 09, 2011.

In all seriousness they do mean well and tried their best. I know Anthony and know he did his best. If one wants to support them see www.asdevelop.org. I just don't believe government should even fund this kind of thing regardless of merit and the public funding was illegal under Virginia law anyway.