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Blacksburg Farmers Market #experientiallearning

11/16/2016 Blacksburg Farmers Market

On a cold Wednesday in November I decided to venture out to the Blacksburg farmers market to see what it is all about. Prior to this experience I had gone to my hometowns local farmers market on many occasions, but only during the summer time. I was very eager to see what a farmer’s market had to offer during the colder months. When I arrived to my surprise there was still a good amount of fresh produce. Mostly green vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. There were plenty of apples to go around and some pumpkins for sale. All of these things were no shock to me and something that I was used to seeing at my hometowns farmers market. To my surprise there was more than just local produce, there were different vendors selling different things. Many of these things were canned goods, candles, and handcrafted goods but I still thought it was neat that these vendors were incorporated into the farmer’s market as well. I didn’t end up buying anytindian_valley_farm_new_photo_small_thumbhing but the trip was still well worth the journey.


In relation to the Appalachian region, this experience felt very right. One of the themes I learned in class included the aspect of family and sharing. At this farmer’s market there was a rich family atmosphere, and it seemed that everyone’s goal was to put a smile on your face. This blacksburg-farmers-marketplace had a very at home feel, even though it was not, and the power seemed to be equally distributed with respect to the vendors. This market also made me realize that the old Appalachian farming tradition is still prevalent today. Many of the people at the markets livelihoods rely on farming and selling their goods to others. This is very stereotypical for Appalachia and leaves a good feeling knowing farming it is not completely gone from the region. Overall, from this whole experience I learned that there are still people in Appalachia practicing things that are looked at as old fashioned. I appreciate this, because it gives hope that there are still people trying to preserve tradition that has been around for very long periods of time. When I have the opportunity to return to the farmer’s market I will certainly being some cash so I can purchase something that was made in the Appalachian region. I would highly recommend going to this market, it is full and rich with Appalachian culture and tradition.

The Homeplace vs. Cracker Barrel #experientiallearning

11/19/2016, The Home Place Restaurant, Catawba, VA  vs. Cracker Barrel, Roanoke, VA

Nestled deep within the Blue Ridge mountains of Southwest Virginia sits a quiet house on a farm. To any unfamiliar person this would seem like any other house along the winding Catawba road. The catch is, it is not, the house is actually a restaurant with a deep rooted history in the Roanoke area. This restaurant has been in operation since 1982 and has had a packed house every night since. One might ask what everyone comes to this restaurant in the middle of nowhere for? The answer is a legendary home cooked meal. In the Appalachian region home cooked meals have always been a major tradition. Today there are very few restaurants that can still give off the at home vibe, while still serving as a restaurant. This is why The Home Place is second to none. There is only one place that many people can relate to that truly can be considered a home cooked meal restaurant. This restaurant is The Cracker Barrel. With their old time decorations, menu item names, and gift shop, many think this is how a real home cooked meal is like. That assumption is completely wrong. As a part of my experiential learning, I went and ate dinner at Cracker Barrel and The Home Place to compare the two in regards to a true Appalachian home cooked meal.


The first place I went to was Cracker Barrel. The first impression Cracker Barrel gives off is very country and southern. With rocking chairs and chess boards out front one cannot ignore the southern atmosphere they are trying to create. As you walk in the door there is a gift shop with other classic southern items for sale including county hit CD’s, candles, and moon pies. So, before you even get seated the franchise already has you in a country state of mind. As you are seated you are given a menu and will most likely be served by a teenager at their first job of some sort or an older individual that is just doing the job for extra money on the side. As you open the menu there are several items that are classic country style meals like country fired steak, and home style mashed potatoes. This is what I ordered. When I got my food I was not impressed, it wasn’t bad but it also was not a meal that would be remembered as extraordinary. So, after I ate I paid my bill and looked forward to going to The Home Place the next day.


Driving out to the Home Place is a very unique experience in itself. You have to drive down a curvy road past farms and mountains before you reach the long driveway of an old plantation house sitting on a hill. When you walk up to the restaurant it gives off the same country southern vibe that Cracker Barrel gave off, with rocking chairs and everything else, only here you were actually in the country, not alongside a major road. As we were seated the first thing I noticed was the dining setup. It was not like Cracker Barrel with tons of unnecessary decorations, but very simple like an actual eating area in an old farmhouse would be. The next biggest thing I noticed was how nice and welcoming the employees were. I immediately felt welcomed and at home, unlike I did with our snobby teenage waiter at Cracker Barrel. Our waitress was a mother in her late 40’s who had been working there for a very long time. The last difference between Cracker Barrel and The Home Place is the food. At Cracker Barrel you have probably 50 items to choose from, at The Home Place you only have the choice of two meats (Fried Chicken and Roast Beef) and a few sides (mashed potatoes, biscuits, green beans, etc). The food at the Home Place is much better than Cracker Barrel, and you can tell it is cooked with care and knowledge, plus it is all you can eat. Overall, out of the two I feel the prefect Appalachian dining experience is at The Home Place. The food, tradition, and hospitality there is very stereotypical of Appalachia and provides an up close look on what a real country meal actually is.

Appalachia Overview

As a president of a university in Southern Appalachia, it is important for you to know the issues, facts, and stereotypes about this region. Appalachia is a very unique region located along the Appalachian mountain range, spanning from as far North as New York, to as far south as Alabama. The core of Appalachia and the area most people think about when it is mentioned would be the dead center of the geographic locations just described. The center of Appalachia would roughly be considered, Western Virginia, Western North Carolina, West Virginia (the state), Eastern Kentucky, and Eastern Tennessee. Within the center of this region is where the stereotypes of Appalachia are most evident, and where the region really gets its cultural roots and traditions from.


This is a map outlining the Appalachia Region

When most people think about Appalachia a few things always come to mind. These things include: violence, drugs, hillbillies, moonshine, coal, poverty, and rurality. All of these examples are widely considered stereotypes, although some may be very true. Stereotypes of Appalachia have been present for decades upon decades, and are so much deeply rooted within, that they may never be taken away or forgotten. Of all of these stereotypes, the most real and prominent one is coal. Coal mining is a very big deal in the core of Appalachia. For decades Appalachia has been the biggest coal producer not only for the United States, but for the world as well. The coal mining in Appalachia has led to many uprisings and problems that play a significant role in the other stereotypes Appalachia has as well. Many can argue that coal mining has played a very large part to the stereotypical violence, poverty, and drug label that has been placed on the Appalachian region. Even though coal mining has created many of these problems within Appalachia, without it Appalachia would be nothing but a beautiful mountain range. The next biggest stereotype that has been placed on Appalachia is its rurality. Many people today do not look at Appalachia as a metropolis, but rather a very rural hillbilly infested area of our country.  This can be argued as true in many cases, because sure there are rural uninhabited areas where hillbillies may roam, but Appalachia has much more to offer than that. Over periods of time Appalachian economies have thrived like other areas of the United States, and there are very major cities that can be accounted for like Louisville, Charleston, Knoxville, and Roanoke. Truly impoverished regions do not have major cities like these examples. Not all of these stereotypes may be bad but they all certainly play a big part in the way individuals look at Appalachia as a region.

Presently, there are many current present day issues Appalachia is facing. The most prominent and important issue is most defiantly coal mining. As new renewable energy sources have become available, the coal mining industry has seen a recent recession. This downfall has been in some cases a result of new environmental laws that have been put in place, as well as protests and uprisings of communities within coal mining towns. Individuals in other areas of Appalachia need to have empathy for these issues because in many cases coal is taken for granted until you are living at the bottom of an active mining site, or your family has lost jobs and lives due to the industry. With the right people and mindset these negatives can be turned to positives if new regulations are put in place as well as new energy sources are accepted but coal mining companies.

As described Appalachia is a very unique region in the United States. There are many positives and negatives the are associated with the region. I hope the examples and situations described in this have informed you about Appalachia, and have helped you  shed new light on the ins and outs of common issues presented in Appalachia.


Work Cited:

“Appalachian Mountains Map.” Pinterest.  Web. 16 Nov. 2016.


Trampoline Project Handout

Trampoline Group Project

Theme: Drugs

Emma Bennett, Grant Leonard, Matt Jehnke, Carly Reynolds

Our Personal Experiences

Emma Bennett – I am from a small town in central Virginia and recently there has been a big drug issue in my county. Personally, my county has been affected by the drug heroin and its addictive side effects. In my county alone there have been 8 deaths in the past 6 months due to heroin overdose and a bad batch going around. Seeing this drug abuse and addiction has given me an interesting insight into drugs and its affects on people.

Grant Leonard – Although I have not directly been exposed to drugs or the effects of drugs. I am a Forestry Business Operations major in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. Many forestry jobs are very labor intensive and can include the abuse of painkillers. Through this issue, I will most likely be exposed to drugs in my future employment.

Matt Jehnke – Drug addiction, specifically heroin,  is an ongoing crisis in my hometown, so I have seen it impact a lot of people’s lives. With young people constantly losing their lives and families being broken apart, it is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed and prevent it from spreading any more.

Carly Reynolds– Coming from a small town, I have seen a lot of incidents involving drug abuse. For example, my fall semester of my senior year, I did an internship at my local hospital in the labor and delivery floor and saw a lot of instances where drug abuse kept mothers from having their babies. Even more times I saw where drug abuse should have kept mothers from keeping their babies, but social services failed to recognize their addictive traits. One sad story involved a mother who abused drugs while she was pregnant and her newborn baby was addicted as well. The chain is hard to break and we see that a lot in Trampoline.    


Addiction:  the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

Marijuana: cannabis, especially as smoked in cigarettes.

Disease: A condition featuring medically significant symptoms that often have a known cause

Drug Misuse: One’s use of a drug not specifically recommended or prescribed when there are more practical alternatives; when drug use puts a user or others in danger

Habit: An outdated term for addiction/physical dependence

Synergism: The greater effect that results when one takes more than one drug simultaneously

Withdrawal Symptoms: Severe and excruciating physical and emotional symptoms that generally occur between 4 to 72 hours after opiate withdrawal (e.g., watery eyes, yawning, loss of appetite, panic, insomnia, vomiting, shaking, irritability, jitters, etc.)

Withdrawal Syndrome: Combined reactions or behaviors that result from the abrupt cessation of a drug one is dependent on

Withdrawal: The abrupt decrease in or removal of one’s regular dosage of a psychoactive substance

Depression: One of the most frequent types of distress resulting from addiction; an ongoing state of sadness involving the inability to concentrate, inactivity, etc.

Denial: One’s failure to either admit or realize his or her addiction or to recognize and accept the harm it can cause

Age at Onset: The age at which one’s addictive behavior began; an important factor in addiction assessment

Addiction Treatment: Aims to reduce addiction


Trampoline was a book that I especially enjoyed. It really showed how a family could potentially be within an Appalachian society. Also it had a great storyline that was very relatable and could be compared to my own life and experiences to a certain extent. I would highly recommend Trampoline to anyone who wants a good novel to read with an emotional outlook of a “stereotypical” Appalachian family.

OxyContin in Appalachia

Class this week has been very interesting, and has included many elements that stuck me in a shocking way. Particularly the reading “OxyContin Flood in the Coalfields.” This reading and video clip watched in class, sufficiently broadened my knowledge on this problem in Appalachia, primarily West Virginia. Kobak stated in OxyContin Flood in the Coalfields, “Very few families in central Appalachia have not been directly touched with the tragedy of addiction.(Fisher and Smith, 2012)” She went on to state that is hurts her to see this type of prescription drug addiction in a culture she cherishes so deeply (Fisher and Smith, 2012). In my understanding not many Americans are very informed on this terrible problem within the Appalachians. This may be due to the thought of Appalachia being immensely rural, with no large cities as there are just due East to the region. Addiction is every where in the United States. This being said, it it also very much present in Appalachia. After learning this it made me ponder about the issue. I came to the conclusion that the reason this type of prescription drug addiction may be so shockingly present in the “rural areas”, not only the big cities is because in these areas there are mostly family practices. In small towns families make friends with other families. Therefore, if you ask for one of these deadly prescriptions like OxyContin doctors will try to help you out as much as possible to keep you coming back. This was shown in the video during in class, where a “doctor” prescribed OxyContin to many patients without a private examination. This resulted in an increase of addiction in Appalachia, as well as deaths of many addicts. For many of these deaths the doctor was blamed, and his license to practice was taken away. The perception drug problem in Appalachia was made very evident to me during this week of class.

The next thing we did in class this week included watching “The Last Mountain”. Through viewing this film it informed me on the many issues coal mining, and ex-coal mining towns are facing. I can relate this film to the coal flower project we also did. In this film it was very evident that the coal mining industry did settle people in certain areas and did bring economic positives into these towns. Though, for every positive there are negatives. The negatives included, health issues, flooding, and environmental destruction. I related this to the project by comparing the final product, the crystal formation to the positives of coal mining. Coal mining can produce economic growth in an area and bring jobs to an area which can be seen as a beautiful thing, just as the final coal flower is. I related the project to the negative effects by thinking about all the bad things that come with coal mining. These things include health issues, pollution, and environmental destruction. In making the projects these negative things can be metaphorically compared to the ingredients used in the coal flower, which were pretty nasty things. The ingredients included ammonia, salt, food coloring, and twigs/sticks. So, the ingredients used to make the flower were pretty nasty just as the negative effects of coal mining, but the final product was beautiful just as the positive effects of coal mining.


This image is the final product of a coal flower, My project in class did not occur as planned so I used an image from online


Work Cited:

Reading: Fisher, Stephen L., and Barbara Ellen Smith. Transforming         Places: Lessons from Appalachia. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2012. Print.

Image: “How to Grow Crystal “Flowers” From Coal.” Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

If I had a $40 million dollar grant….

Many places in Appalachia are sterotypiclly “impoverished” or “poor”. This stereotype can be very true in some places, especially in towns that were initially brought up by coal mining. As the mining companies left in many of these towns, thousands of people no longer had jobs or an income. The situation is, if I was given a $40 million dollar grant to put towards a specific area, how would I invest the money to better the growth of the community. So, if I was given this grant, I would use it towards one of the ex coal mining towns, particularly in West Virginia. The first thing I would do after informing the town of the grant, I would take it the people to decide what they wanted to do with it. In many of these towns a big issue is pollution, so I would guess this would be an issue the community would want to address. Water cleanliness is a big issue facing many ex coal mining towns. I would take some of the money and put it towards cleaning up the water to where it is drinkable again. Many issues regarding the water cleanliness are stated The next thing I would do after facing the issues the people want, I would invest money to improve local business. This is very important because without local businesses a town is nothing. Improving these businesses will create jobs, and bring money back into the town. With the remaining money after these two things, I would put the rest into public education. Improving public education will bring families into the town for a good education. All of these things would prove to be very beneficial to an ex coal mining town. So, if I had to opportunity to use a $40 million dollar grant these are the things I would do and focus my energy on.

Work cited:

West Virginia Water Crisis” N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.

Eller and Lewis Readings

“There is little question about poverty in Appalachia. If we use income as a criterion, we find that the area of Appalachia which we are dealing with has a mean income of less than one half that of the remainder of the United States. If we use health as a factor, we find that only five of the 60 counties have infant mortality rates lower than the national average; in 34 counties the rate is 20 percent higher than the national rate. The tuberculosis rate in some parts of the area are 10 times the national average. And in 25 percent of the counties there are fewer than 30 physicians per 100,000, as compared with 139 per 100,000 in the United States as a whole.”



Of anywhere else in the nation why was Appalachia experiencing poverty at this extremity, also how did they manage to use it as motivation to get through the depression? What caused these high infant mortality rates, poor healthcare, and low incomes? After this answer, were the short term benefits of coal mining worth the destruction that followed when the industry left?

Work Cited:

Pictures: “War on Poverty: Portraits From an Appalachian Battleground, 1964.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

Reading: Lewis, Helen Matthews., Linda Johnson, and Donald Askins. Colonialism in Modern America: The Appalachian Case. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium, 1978. Print.

Appalachian Music

Bill Malone stated, “No concept in American life has had a more magic appeal than Appalachian music”. This statement could not be more true under any circumstances. One can look anywhere and think all day about it, but there is no type of music as different and instrumentally diverse as Appalachian music is. I have grown up my whole life listening and playing Appalachian music, thus explains why I can personally relate to the majestic properties this type of music has. Malone also stated that Appalachian music can provide “dramatic relief from the boredom that many find in our society and in the homogenized sounds of popular music”. This statement is a very bold statement to make, and can also be interpreted in many ways. The way that I interpret it is that Appalachian Music has very meaningful and honest lyrics. Many of times in todays popular music these messages are not present therefore making as Malone stated a “homogenized sound”. You will never see two Appalachian music sounds or lyrics be the same. This is another reason Appalachian music has a magical appeal.

Growing up listening to Appalachian music, I am very familiar with the various artists that paved the way for the music today like Doc Watson and Ralf Stanley. Although both these artists have great music, in my opinion there is no better way to describe Appalachia then the way the song “Rocky Top” does. This song is one that includes and points out many stereotypes that have been placed on Appalachia. The song is set in Tennessee. One of the most stereotypical verses in the song is the one that mentions moonshine. Moonshine is a big stereotype in Appalachia and this song shows it is a real thing. The next verse states, “strangers ain’t come down from rocky top reckon they never will” this verse describes the stereotype of violence in an indirect way. Since strangers never come down it means they are killed. Last in the first verse it is stated there are not any telephone bills on rocky top. This verifies the stereotype that Appalachia is un modernized. Through the analysis of this song, listeners can completely relate it back to Appalachia. That is why I feel this song is a great representation of Appalachian Music. The song can be found below (copy and paste into URL)

Work Cited:

Straw, Richard Alan., and Tyler Blethen. High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time and Place. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2004. Print.

Saberdragon65. “Rocky Top W/ Lyrics.” YouTube. YouTube, 2010. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

Images and Industrialization

From the beginning of time people have created assumptions of places and things without actually knowing factual evidence about that thing or place. This is due to the simple fact that things, and especially places conform to negative stereotypes that are false most of the time. In “Merchandising the Mountaineer”, this was proven very evident for the region of Appalachia. Watkins did an excellent job explaining and giving examples of falsifications put on Appalachia that it was not yet modernized. He explained this through images and statements connected to the images. Although there were small parts of Appalachia that may had not been as modernized as other parts, certain images created a picture for outsiders that all of the Appalachian reigon lived by the unmodernized stereotype which was false.


Connecting the reading to my hometown, I began to think of ways outsiders thought of my town, who had maybe lived nearby but had never actually traveled or lived within the city. I am from Daleville, Virginia a small town right outside of Roanoke. Thinking back on my high school (pictured to the right) experience, my school was always known as the “redneck school”. This of course was specifically how schools viewed us that maybe had students from more wealthy backgrounds. Though we were located in a somewhat rural area, and had one of the best FFA programs in the area, this did not classify the whole school and student body as “rednecks”. Im my opinion, my high school was just as diverse, socially, and economically similar to other schools in the area, and in many cases had less country folks than schools that labeled us as “rednecks”. This relatively negative stereotype is how many surrounding schools viewed us, though it was not actually true at all similar to what Watkins pointed out about the Appalachian region. All in all, todays society as a whole needs to stop “judging a book by its cover”, and actually record factual evidence before making assumptions. Assumptions made in the beginning of Appalachia still affect the region to this day, thus reinforcing the importance of gaining factual evidence before stereotyping an area or place. If those poor, unmodernized assumptions about Appalachia were not made long ago, what would Appalachia had been known for today?

Work cited:

Picture: Tim Bane Is No Longer Principal at Lord Botetourt High School Cathy Benson “Tim Bane Is No Longer Principal at Lord Botetourt High School.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.


Feuding in Appalachia

Appalachia has numerous stereotypes that could be classified as good or bad. One stereotype I consider to be bad that Appalachia is associated with is feuding. Feuding is to take part in an ongoing conflict. Feuding had been going on for years but there never really was a set word for it until the famous Hatfields vs. the Mccoys feud drew national attention. As Time Magazine put it, “The Hatfields and the McCoys practically invented the family feud“. So why is this feud so important? The reason this feud is so important is because it is what put the feuding stereotype on Appalachia as a whole.


Hatfield men 1899

This was the first major feud and caused several others to break out in response to it throughout the course of history. On a broad spectrum, feuding is something that was probably going on everywhere but not to the extent it was in Appalachia. In Appalachia, these feuds were very violent and involved killing your enemies. Thus also placing a stereotype for violence on the region. Overall, the worst of these feuds happened in small rural mountain towns where mostly poor, uneducated farmers lived. Through the analysis of these circumstances the rest of the nation looked at these feuds as something that low class poor people participate in. Thus once again creating another stereotype of Appalachia that everyone is poor and uneducated. In my opinion feuding in Appalachia served as the foundation for many present day stereotypes. Without these feuds, I feel that certain negative stereotypes that are currently placed on Appalachia could be thought of differently, and possibly supply the rest of the nation with a better understanding of the region. But, like always a region will carry their historic stereotypes like feuding and violence with pride as it is what makes it unique from the rest of the nation.


Works Cited:

Sanburn, Josh. “Top 10 Family Feuds.” Time. Time Inc., 2011. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

Ap. “Home Where Hatfields Ambushed McCoys Is Discovered in New Twist on Epic Feud Brought to Life in Kevin Costner Miniseries.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 2015. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

By 1891, the Feud Was Over, with Several More Hatfield and McCoy Adherents Dead, Several Hatfields in Prison, the Governments of Kentucky and West Virginia Having Spilled Much Ink on Arguments for and against Extradition of Feudists, Devil Anse Having Lost Most of His Lands, and the Tug Valley in the Control of Industrial Investors from outside the Watershed. “Profile: Feuds – Wheeling Jesuit University.” Profile: Feuds – Wheeling Jesuit University. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016