Welcome to the streaming archives for Mountain Talk, WMMT's weekly community conversation, airing Wednesday evenings at 6. In addition to providing space for What's Cookin' Now! and Art Matters, Mountain Talk features interviews with guests that cover a wide range of topics pertaining to life in these mountains, such as food, music, history, spirituality, and current events. Join us each Wednesday at six, and if you miss a program be sure to look for it here on wmmt.org.

Mountain Talk: The 2015 Growing Appalachia Conference


Valerie Horn of Grow Appalachia & the Appal-TREE project (L) and Sister Kathy Curtis of the Floyd Co. Farmers’ Market discuss the upcoming Growing Appalachia conference set for March 21 in Prestonsburg, Ky.

In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we hear from a variety of guests involved in local agriculture here in the mountains about the 2015 Growing Appalachia conference, which is set for Saturday, March 21st in Prestonsburg, Ky.  The conference consists of a full day of workshops centered around small-scale mountain farming, energy efficiency, and renewables.  To learn more about it, in this program host Elizabeth Sanders welcomes a diverse group of local guests: Jessie Skaggs, who’s helping to organize the conference; Valerie Horn (of Grow Appalachia & the Appal-TREE project); Sister Kathy Curtis (of the Floyd Co. Farmers’ Market); Hilary Neff (also of Appal-TREE); Mark Walden (of Grow Appalachia); and Jonathan Hootman (part owner of Roundabout Music Company, a new co-operatively owned Whitesburg business).

The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the 21st, and will be held at the Jenny Wiley Convention Center in Prestonsburg.  It’s being sponsored by the Big Sandy chapter of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.  For more information or to sign up, click here.

Mountain Talk is WMMT’s twice-weekly community space for conversation, airing each Monday & Wednesay from 6-7 p.m.  Mountain Talk programs focus on a variety of topics related to life in the mountains: food; community issuesart; health; and more (click any of those links to hear streaming audio of past programs archived by topic).

Mountain Talk: New Ideas for Kentucky’s Economy


(l-r) Sara Pennington, Eric Dixon, & host Mimi Pickering in the WMMT studio

Here in the midst of Kentucky’s legislative session, on this episode of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we hear about a number of bills being heard in the General Assembly that could have an impact on Kentucky’s working families and the state’s economy as a whole.  Host Mimi Pickering is joined by guests from across the state, including Eric Dixon, Sara Pennington, & Tanya Turner (who all live in the Whitesburg area), as well as Shekinah Lavalle (of Louisville) and Jessica Hays Lucas (of Lexington).  Among other issues and bills, they discuss the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and the idea of increasing the minimum wage.  Our guests also let listeners know how their voices could be heard on bills important to them.

To hear more episodes of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, check out our streaming archives.

Mountain Talk: Heirloom Apples & Beans with Tom Brown & Bill Best

heirloom apple collector Tom Brown

In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we hear about two unique Appalachian heirloom foods and their collectors.

As we are now knee-deep in autumn, apple season is once again upon us here in the mountains.   So we begin this show, appropriately enough, with an interview with Tom Brown, an heirloom apple collector from North Carolina.  Brown became interested in finding and saving heritage apples in 1999, and to date he has discovered over 1,000 apple varieties.  He recently joined host Sylvia Ryerson in the WMMT studio to share his knowledge about and passion for unique apple varieties.  You can learn more about his work at www.applesearch.org.

Also in this program, we hear about heirloom beans from another renowned collector–Bill Best of Kentucky.  Best founded the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture project in Berea, and has gained global recognition for his practice of saving heirloom beans.  In this program, we hear an excerpt from a talk Best gave at the inaugural gathering of the Appalachian Food Summit, which took place in Hindman, Ky. in May of 2014.

Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly conversation, airs each Monday & Wednesday at 6 p.m. To hear previous episodes, check out the Mountain Talk archives, or the archives for What’s Cookin’ Now!, which airs on the first Wednesday of every month.

Mountain Talk: A Community Forum Looks to Wales for New Ideas for Appalachia’s Economy

In this edition of Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly community conversation, we bring you excerpts from a community forum which took place on Tuesday, October 7th in the Appalshop Theater.

The forum was convened to present both local and international perspectives on new economic possibilities for the central Appalachian coalfields.  Specifically, the coalfields of south Wales shut down abruptly thirty years ago, which forced communities there to diversify their economies.  As coal employment continues to decline in Appalachia, and with many experts saying that coal jobs are not likely to rebound, some see Wales as a possible model for what new economies could be built in Appalachia.

The forum featured Hywel Francis,  a labor historian and a Member of Parliament from the Aberavon region; his wife Mair Francis, founder of the D.O.V.E. workshop, a woman-run education center considered by many to be an international model for community development; Evan Smith, an attorney with the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, a non-profit law firm in Whitesburg, Ky.; and Robin Gabbard, Associate Executive Director at the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky.  Voices of community members who attended can also be heard in the Q&A portion of the broadcast, including the perspective of renowned Appalachian scholar Helen Lewis.

Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly conversation, airs each Monday & Wednesday at 6 p.m. To hear previous episodes, check out the Mountain Talk archives, or the archives for What’s Cookin’ Now!, which airs on the first Wednesday of every month.

Mountain Talk: Appalachian Transition Fellows

The full cohort of Appalachian Transition Fellows // you can find more info about the program at http://www.appfellows.org

In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we discuss the Appalachian Transition Fellowship Progam, a new initiative aimed at encouraging a new generation of Appalachian leaders while also working to diversify the regional economy.  The first class of Fellows, fourteen young people from throughout the region, recently started working with nonprofits, local governments, and businesses across six Appalachian states on projects working to create jobs and sustainable livelihoods.  In this program, host Mimi Pickering speaks with Fellows Joshua Outsey, Mae Humiston, and Eric Dixon about their work and experiences in the region so far.  We also hear from Kierra Sims of the Highlander Center, which is coordinating the program and mentoring the Fellows.

For more on the program and this year’s Appalachian Transition Fellows, check out their website: www.appfellows.org.  To hear previous episodes of Mountain Talk, WMMT’s regular community conversation, head to our streaming archives.

Mountain Talk: The Inaugural Appalachian Food Summit

In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we look back at the first annual Appalachian Food Summit held last month at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Ky.  Joining host Mimi Pickering are: Pike County food writer Joyce Pinson; Valerie Horn of the Community Farm Alliance, Grow Appalachia, and the APPAL-TREE project; and Lora Smith, one of the event’s organizers.  Our guests also discuss the potential benefits that growing and eating local food may hold for our health and our local economies here in the mountains.

To hear more episodes of Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly community conversation, check out our streaming archives here.