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MN&WR: Traditions in Transition

MN&WR: Traditions in Transition

  • Is squaredance a mountain tradition we want to put the resources of time and money toward saving in our communities?  Kelli Haywood examines this question by looking at the history of squaredance in the area and following the efforts of the Letcher County Culture Hub and squaredance classes and events they are helping organize.
  • Can our rich and varied Appalachian food traditions become one source for a sustainable economy in the region?  Benny Becker attends the Appalachian Seed Swap in Pikeville, Kentucky to talk with the folks who believe it can.
  • In our Humans of Central Appalachia featured story, Brian Fields talks of retraining miners, farming, music, squaredance, and staying at home in the mountains despite hardship.
Black/White Image - "Brian Fields" by Malcolm J. Wilson - Humans of Central Appalachia
Black/White Image – “Brian Fields” by Malcolm J. Wilson – Humans of Central Appalachia

It seems everything in our mountain home is in a state of transition.  Change can be hard, but also good.  It is a time to take the bull by the horns and stop beating the dead horse — to use some commonplace phrasing.  This week on Mountain News & World Report, we are looking at a few of our Traditions in Transition.  What traditions are worth putting time, money, and effort toward preserving?  What time honored traditions might serve us as we transition into a new economy and which ones should we release in order to make room for new thoughts and ideas?  WMMT’s Kelli Haywood begins this episode asking just those questions as she explores the efforts of the Letcher County Culture Hub in introducing squaredancing to a new generation and attempting to reinvigorate the tradition in that generation’s parents and grandparents.  What she found might surprise you.  Be sure to let us know what you think as well by commenting.

In our second story, Benny Becker attends the 4th Annual Appalachian Seed Swap and speaks with Joseph Simcox and Joyce Pinson who participate in the event.  Simcox has traveled the world collecting and swapping seeds and along with Pinson believes that Appalachia can be a hub for the revival of small scale, sustainable agriculture.  Not only does Simcox share some of the seeds of knowledge he’s collected from his world travels, but puts forward his idea for how Central Appalachia can use agriculture to transform our economy and reclaim our mined lands.

And, to end the show, we include the story of Brian Fields as interviewed by Malcolm J. Wilson of Humans of Central Appalachia.  Fields works in retraining former miners for a variety of careers.  He also comes from a long line of musicians and farmers.  His story illustrates how it is just second nature at times to take on tradition as part of your own identity.

Mountain News & World Report is a bi-weekly production of WMMT, and new episodes air every other Thursday at 6pm on WMMT, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday morning at 10:30.  To listen to previous episodes, check out our streaming archives.

appalachian history,
arts & culture,
economic transition,
education in the mountains,
food access,
healthy cooking,
healthy eating,
traditional music,
wmmt news,

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