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Rural Commons


Growing the Appalachian Food Economy: A Forum on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture

Registration is now open for the Appalachian Regional Commission’s April 2012 Growing the Appalachian Food Economy: A Forum on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture. The multi-state event, to be held April 3-4 at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, will focus on how Appalachian communities can expand the role that food assets and sustainable agriculture play in local economic development to increase employment opportunities, spark entrepreneurial ventures, and build local wealth. Learn more and register.



Pilot Mountain Pride video wins video contest


ICMA’s fourth annual video contest's winning video was created by Darren Rhodes, chief planner at the North Carolina’s Department of Commerce’s Piedmont Regional Office, a Division of Community Planning. Rhodes worked with the city of Pilot Mountain, NC, to create a video, "A Place to Grow,” to answer the question, "How is your community doing more with less?" Pilot Mountain Pride is a 2010 Economic Innovation Grant recipient.

Watch the video.



Wind energy project wins award

A renewable energy project in eastern North Carolina has been named the 2011 project of the year by the North Carolina Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. The project is training workers in a 10-county region for the installation and maintenance of meteorological towers and wind turbines.

The Albemarle Resource Conservation and Development Council in Edenton is the project’s lead agency. Other partners include the Northeast Workforce Development Board, Dare County Schools, Appalachian State University, Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute, N.C. Solar Center, Alpha Energy and Currituck Wind. The Rural Center provided financial support.


Two Western NC Councils receive awards


Two Western North Carolina Regional Councils, the Southwestern Commission in Sylva and Land-of-Sky Regional Council in Asheville, have received a 2011 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation for their work with WNC Communities to help develop and construct the new WNC Regional Livestock Center. Read more.


Laurinburg-Scotland County Chamber of Commerce wins Chamber of the Year


The Laurinburg-Scotland County Chamber of Commerce was awarded the 2011 National Chamber of the Year in Los Angeles last week during the annual ACCE Convention. The chamber was recognized for excellence in operations, member services and community leadership. The ACCE recognized a total of four chambers based on their budgets. The Laurinburg chamber was in the $450,000 and under category. Read more.



Gap between rich, poor schools may be growing

As state funding for public schools is cut, counties are being asked to shoulder an increasing share of the cost of education. A June 19 article in The News and Observer discusses the implications for schools in economically distressed counties. Read more.


Burgaw center to treat teens


A new center opening in Burgaw will treat adolescents struggling with substance abuse. Funding for construction was provided in part by a grant from the Rural Center. Read more.



Entrepreneurs get a hand up


In western North Carolina, the Tri-County Business Competition has awarded grants to help entrepreneurs turn their business plans into reality. The competition grew out of a grant from the Rural Center. Read more.



Obama creates White House Rural Council

The White House has announced the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. “Strong rural communities are key to a stronger America,” said President Barack Obama. “That’s why I’ve established the White House Rural Council to make sure we’re working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.” Read more.

REDI graduate to lead western entrepreneurship effort

AdvantageWest, the economic development partnership for the 23 counties of Western North Carolina, has named Matt Rakerits vice president of entrepreneurial development and AdvantageGreen. Raker is a 2010 graduate of the Rural Center’s Rural Economic Development Institute. Read more about Raker’s promotion.



danawhitehair060511Foothills Connect gets new director


Dana Whitehair has been named executive director of Foothills Connect Business & Technology Center. Whitehair will start his new position at the Rutherfordton center on July 1. He is the former general manager of WNCW/Spindale and He replaces Tim Will, who resigned in March.



State of the North Carolina Workforce, 2011-2020


The N.C. Commission on Workforce Development has released an update of the 2007 State of the Workforce Report. It provides an indepth analysis of the supply of available workers and the workforce demand in the state, presenting both challenges and policy recommendations. Learn more.