Southwestern Virginia


It’s no secret the coal economy is changing, and as it declines, so do the livelihoods of people and families who’ve worked in the industry for generations. Now, coal states across the country are working together on a community driven, economic transition for the people and places where coal was once king.

Linda Edmonds Turner / Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

In 1936, Virginia became the first state to open a park system, notable for being "not more than an hour’s" drive from anywhere in the Commonwealth. But for Black Virginians, no amount of drive time would have gotten them past the entrance.


Kurt Holtz

 Large, industrial meat processing plants are now ‘hot spots’ for spreading Coronavirus.  Some have closed while the industry grapples with how to provide safety for workers, causing shortages at supermarkets. But sales at some small, local farms in southwestern Virginia are booming like never before.


For the first time in history, the U.S. is on track to produce more electricity from renewable energy than from coal, according to a new government report. States around the country have been passing clean energy laws  and Virginia did so earlier this year.  But  in southwestern Virginia coal country, there are caps on the amount of solar power that can be produced.

Food Access for Students

Food insecurity has become more of a problem, for more people, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s something many don’t want to talk about.