Our Training Farms and Services

Photo-training

We are operating seven farms across four counties in Southern West Virginia. Four of these farms are currently in full operation and three are in development. These farms serve as training sites for our crew members and members of the community. We work with a wide variety of partners on these sites to develop cost-effective production techniques that can be readily adopted by producers in the coalfields while also providing fresh, affordable food for communities.

West Edge Factory-Microgreens
West Edge Factory (Wayne County)

Our West Edge urban farm is a year-round diversified vegetable farm located at the West Edge Factory in the Westmoreland neighborhood of Huntington. Our facilities include two repurposed high tunnels, an indoor microgreens room, and multiple cold storage rooms and a loading dock for our food hub. We often hold public workshops at this location on topics ranging from high tunnel production to wholesale grading to microgreens production.

Squash
Nicholas Farm (Cabell County)

We partner with the Nicholas Family to operate a diversified vegetable operation outside of Milton, WV. Our GAP certified farm produces squash that is sold to Appalachian Harvest in southwestern Virginia, and distributed to grocery stores across the east coast. We also have 4 high tunnels producing a variety of vegetables and fruits, and shiitake mushrooms.

Hydroponic Tomato
Hamlin (Lincoln County)

We operate a year-round diversified farm at Lincoln County High School in partnership with the Lincoln County High School FFA program. This farm includes a hydroponic tomato greenhouse, another greenhouse used for spring and fall plant sales, 2 high tunnels used for vegetable production, an aquaculture facility, and pastured poultry production. Our partnership allows high school students, community members, and Refresh Appalachia crew members to have training on a diverse set of production techniques. Some products from these operations are sourced to the local school.

High Tunnel
22 Mine Road (Mingo County)

In partnership with the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority and the Williamson Health and Wellness Center, we are transforming a former surface mine into a diversified agriculture enterprise. We use integrated livestock management to rebuild soils while producing pork, goat, chicken, and egg products. We have multiple orchards planted in species ranging from paw-paw and hazelnut trees to blackberries and elderberries, and we are currently building two high tunnels for year-round vegetable production.

Williamson (Mingo County)

In partnership with the Williamson Health and Wellness Center, we are developing a large hydroponic greenhouse on the roof of the former Legion building in downtown Williamson. This greenhouse will produce a variety of leafy green products that will supply the local food market in Williamson in addition to our regional food hub.

Kermit Aquaponics (Mingo County)

The Kermit Aquaponics project, currently in development, will be a commercial-scale aquaponics facility that produces tilapia fish and a variety of leafy green vegetables. The project is being developed with the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority.

The project will utilize geothermal energy from a reclaimed abandoned coal mine along with solar energy to power a 20,000 square foot commercial and educational aquaponics facility. Aquaponics is a fish production system in which the waste produced by farmed fish supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which can in turn purify the water, creating sustainably-produced healthy fish and vegetables for local and regional consumers. The project will provide employment and training opportunities for laid-off coal miners and others in coal communities of Mingo, Wayne, and surrounding counties. Additional project partners include Southern Community and Technical College, Nelson & Pade, Williamson Health and Wellness Center, and others.

The facility will provide direct employment for 10-12 full time staff, while also serving as an aquaponics training center for the region. By utilizing abandoned coal mine shafts for geothermal energy in combination with solar array production, the facility will drastically reduce energy costs, creating an innovative energy efficient agricultural model that could be transferred throughout the coalfields.

Remediation of the abandoned mine lands, construction of the production facilities, and installation of the solar arrays will provide additional employment and on-the-job training opportunities for displaced workers. This project builds on assets that are under our feet to help develop a local food system that creates living wage jobs and provides food for communities in need.

Fort Gay Agriculture Facility (Wayne County)

Currently in development, the Fort Gay Agriculture Facility will be operated by the Wayne County Farmers Cooperative, Refresh Appalachia, and potentially Wayne County Schools students. Our partnership is currently developing multiple high tunnels on the property of the old Fort Gay elementary school. Area farmers will be able to drop off their produce, have it processed and stored as necessary. The facility will operate as a pick up

point for Refresh Appalachia, ACCESS WV and other entities to deliver products to appropriate markets with a warehouse space and a loading dock.

Mobile Poultry Processing Program (Southern West Virginia)

In partnership with the West Virginia Farmer’s Market Association, we offer poultry processing services for regional producers. For a small fee, we provide a fully-outfitted mobile processing trailer, expertise, and staff to assist regional producers in processing their poultry.