Two Emory & Henry students presented ideas for the enhancement of the agricultural economy of Washington County at a recent conference hosted by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Brianne Smalley of Burke, Va. and Mary Beth Tignor of Lebanon, Va. discussed the challenges of the region’s agricultural economy resulting from the end of the tobacco allotment system in 2004. They also discussed how the agricultural economy of Washington County could tie into other regional economic development efforts that seek to enhance the marketing and production of indigenous goods and services, often known as the “creative economy,” of Southwest Virginia.
Smalley and Tignor presented at the Appalachian Regional Commission's Appalachian Teaching Project Conference in Washington, D.C. in December. Their presentation was the result of their own research, which focuses primarily on farmers in the areas of Meadowview and Glade Spring, Va.
Included in Tignor’s research is a study of the history and demographics of the Glade Spring Farmers Market and the Glade Spring community. Smalley will rely on research she has conducted as she writes a grant application in support of a creamery and value-added plant in Meadowview.
“Since farmers markets and supporting local food have become a trend in the U.S. I think that both Brianne and I are working on theses that are advocating for things of current relevance,” Tignor said.