Students at Evergreen Community Charter School in Asheville, NC have begun their Appalachian Journey once again, marking the 3rd year of this exciting learning initiative. This year students will expand their scope beyond foodways to also study how music, literature, energy and transportation have developed in Appalachia and influenced the lives of people who live here in these southern mountains. Eighth-grade language arts and social studies teacher Jesse Wharton adapted the expedition this year in order to appeal to more students and reach more community members.
Part of the students’ journey includes training in the methods of oral history. In the photo above, students Sophia Fairbairn and Olivia Hennon conduct a practice interview with their teacher Tony Mele. By practicing in front of their classmates (and a camera!), these students will receive valuable feedback that will help them prepare for the interviews they’ll conduct soon with their elder community members. Once all the interviews have been completed, students will begin the process of listening to, analyzing, and sharing the stories they have gathered. A community-wide shindig is planned for October 26th at Hickory Nut Gap Farm to celebrate the completion of this project.
Bill Best is director of the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center in Berea, Kentucky. Best saves seeds grown and cherished by Appalachian families, helping to preserve mountain culture and biodiversity. He
The Appalachian Food Storybank seeks to acknowledge, honor, and archive Appalachian heritage food stories in order to preserve diverse local traditions, natural resources, heirloom varieties and breeds.