Happy Year of the Horse!

yearofthehorseJanuary 27th marked the start of the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, and the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine in Pilot, Virginia is honoring the gifts of the horse this year by forging a deeper connection to the land and helping us reclaim our natural strength and vitality.

Tucked into the forest near the Floyd/Montgomery county line, the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine, or BRCCM, is a non-profit center that offers comprehensive and complementary health care to the surrounding community. The main building is awash with natural lighting and gentle, calming energy. Four clinical care rooms with hardwood floors and high ceilings look out onto pastures and woods behind the center.

As horses peacefully nibble the grass, their hooves link their hearts to the land. This year BRCCM is deepening that vital connection by expanding their Chinese medicinal herb production program. Developing economic opportunities for regional farmers is the goal of the program as well as supplying reliably sourced high-quality herbs for Chinese medicines for regional and national distribution. On March 15th and 16th, just in time for spring planting, leading Chinese medicine herbalist and grower Jean Giblette will host workshops for local farmers and others interested in learning about the medical benefits and growing needs of these herbs.

Horses run hard, but they know when to rest. If only we could follow their lead! In our manic world, we often overextend our capacity and lose our sense of place on earth, draining our strength and vitality. BRCCM helps replenish our natural balance by offering classes in grounding andstrengthening mind/body practices such as internal martial arts for health including taiji, qigong, plus yoga and playshops.

People of all ages travel from near and far to explore alternative approaches to issues such as chronic conditions, addiction, injuries, and aging. BRCCM’s highly trained practitioners work with each individual to support an effective personal path to healing, offering a wide range of therapeutic options such as acupuncture, herbs, and bodywork including Tuina and Thai massage. This year the center is also offering classes and practitioner continuing education courses in fermenting foods, holistic animal companion care, Chinese food therapy, and pre- and post-natal wellness.

Just as horses band together, so the staff and supporters of The Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine work as one to strengthen their community. The non-profit center relies on financial donations to sustain its services, as well as volunteers who help with tasks ranging from stacking firewood to repairing computers. The center offers low-cost acupuncture clinics and donation-funded subsidized care so that quality health care is available for everyone. In this Year of the Horse, let’s remember that each step toward individual wholeness helps create a more resilient, more supportive community for all.

For more information about holistic health services, classes and workshops, the medicinal herb growing program, and other upcoming opportunities, check out the BRCCM website (www.brccm.org) or Facebook page (Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine).


Flaccavento and Open House by Floyd EcoVillage

Join us, Friday, September 14th for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the introduction of the Floyd EcoVillage’s Village Center and for a talk with Anthony Flaccovento, Virginia Congressional Representative candidate for the 9th District.

3:00-5:00pm, refreshments provided.

Contact 540-745-4434 for more information.

718 Franklin Pike
Floyd, VA 24091

About Anthony Flaccavento:

Anthony is a family farmer, community leader and small business owner. He has worked on community environmental and economic development in central Appalachia for the past 25 years. In 1995, Anthony founded Appalachian Sustainable Development, which has since become a national leader in sustainable economic development.

Anthony has also started or helped start a number of farming, business and community programs over the past 20 years, including:
• A homeownership program for low-income residents that has now built nearly 200 homes in the district
• Appalachian Harvest, which has helped more than 60 farmers (including many former tobacco farmers) to increase profits and sell to supermarkets
• The Abingdon Farmers Market, one of the strongest in the state, and several other farmers markets around the district
• A local merchants association
• Healthy Families, Family Farms, which provides local organic produce to families in need while supporting local farmers
• A local green building coalition that helps promote businesses in energy-efficient building, solar and wind energy and geothermal energy

In 2009, Anthony founded SCALE, a consulting firm dedicated to developing and supporting sustainable regional economies and food systems. SCALE works with farmers, small businesses, economic development agencies and community leaders in Appalachia and other communities.

Anthony has spoken extensively about economic development, sustainable farming and Appalachian issues. He has received several awards and honors for his work, including the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award and the Arthur Smith Environmental Stewardship award. Anthony was selected by Blue Ridge magazine in 2009 as one of central Appalachia’s most important agents for positive change. He was a Kellogg National Food and Society Policy Fellow during 2007 and 2008.

Anthony has a BS in Agriculture and Environmental Science from the University of Kentucky and a Master’s degree in Economic and Social Development from the University of Pittsburgh. He is married with three children.

Wind Turbines coming to Wills Ridge in Floyd Virginia?

How would wind turbines look on Wills Ridge? Nordex, one of two companies exploring the possibility of building wind turbines on top of Wills Ridge in Floyd County, wants to partner with the community.
Three representatives from the company, including the project developer Andrew Rudersdorf, spoke to the Press Monday. Rudersdorf has been working in Floyd for about six months and has been talking with the owners of property on Wills Ridge. David D’Onofrio and Ben Kelahan with Nordex’s community outreach also visited the county last week.
Rudersdorf said he has spoken with the Board of Supervisors, but wants everyone in the county to know about the project. “We can’t do this project unless the community is on board.” He explained that since wind farms are new to this area and the state, “we really need to educate. We need to make sure everyone understands the benefits of a wind farm. We want communities to generate opinions based on the facts.”
The work Nordex is doing in the county now, Rudersdorf noted, is “very preliminary”. Plans include 15-20 towers, in the range of 30-50 megawatts along Wills Ridge. Nordex makes the turbines it will be putting up, he added. “We both develop and manufacture. The majority of companies you see only develop and they use other technology.”
The N117 turbines Nordex makes are 2.4 megawatt, high efficiency machines, Rudersdorf said. “They are very high efficiency for Class 3 (lower) wind speeds.”
How would coal smoke stacks look on Wills Ridge? – Nordex, based in Germany with U.S. offices in Chicago, has its manufacturing facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Rudersdorf said that facility is the company’s commitment “in providing American jobs to wind development in the U.S.” and the turbines that would be put up in Floyd County would be made in Jonesboro.
In terms of local job benefits associated with the building of a wind farm in Floyd County, Rudersdorf said even though plans are still in the preliminary stages, he estimates there would be “in the range of 100-150 construction jobs” and then during the operations period “probably in the range of 5-10 full-time positions….These are high paying jobs. There will be training for those jobs.” The training facility is located at the Arkansas plant.
Also, Rudersdorf, continued, “the magnitude of a 30-50 megawatt project is upwards to $100 million. The tax revenue for the county is extremely significant. We’re still crunching numbers….”
The other company looking at the possibility of a wind farm on Wills Ridge is Horizon Wind Energy LLC of Houston, Texas. Both companies are approaching the same landowners. A third company, Invenergy, which is also involved in the Poor Mountain project in Roanoke County, already has a temporary tower, measuring wind velocity and direction, in place near the intersection of Kyle Weeks Road and Union School Road in Floyd County.
“We are really looking forward to kicking off the wind measurement campaign and educating the community,” Rudersdorf told the Press Monday.
Rudersdorf said Nordex chose to look at Floyd County’s Wills Ridge for a wind farm because of its Class 3 wind resource and the proximity to transmission.
Since a wind farm in Floyd County would be one of the first wind farms in the state, Rudersdorf said his company would “want to set the precedent for wind farms” in Virginia. “We want to make sure we do it correct.”
Estimated time for development in such projects is about 5 years, with construction taking approximately 6 months to a year.
David Stafford, who with another man owns 225 acres on Wills Ridge and is one of the larger landowners in the project area, has been approached by both companies. He said he is “leaning more toward Nordex,” who was the first company to talk to him.
Stafford, who currently lives in Pearisburg, hopes to be living in Floyd in about five years.
As for wind energy, Stafford said, “I think it’s a really good thing. We need to be looking for alternative sources…cleaner solutions to the problem.”
Stafford said he knows there is opposition to a wind farm in Floyd County, but he has seen wind farms in other places. “I actually enjoy seeing something like that…seeing the turbines turning….I saw them out west.” He said most of the wind farms he has seen are not near homes, “but you drove by them and you can see them, which to me was very interesting.”
He said the noise is a “swooshing” noise. “Once you get 50 yards away from it, you couldn’t even hear it.”
Stafford added wind energy is “clean” and from what he understands, “depending on the amount of wind,” a farm would be “generating quite a bit of electricity. I know we might not benefit directly from it here…but there are a lot of jobs to be created because of it, not only in installation, but also the daily mechanics of it.”
Rudersdorf said, “Overall, the response (Nordex has received) has been very positive.” Nordex wants “to show our commitment to this community – that we can do this project and have a lot of local benefits.”
He stated the wind farm is an “opportunity to be able to form a partnership with Floyd while producing clean, renewable energy and economic development the community needs….The project would be a positive milestone for the community in terms of financial and environmental benefits.”

The Floyd Press
By Wanda Combs
Published: September 16, 2011

The Village Green Installs the Largest Solar Array in Southwest VA

The Village Green has always been envisioned as a project that would help Floyd in a variety of ways. It’s a commercial building that is part of a leading edge green movement in Floyd County Virginia. I recently bumped into Woody Crenshaw one of the owning members and manager of the site.

He explained that a year ago an application was submitted for a grant with the Virginia Department of Mines Minerals and Energy. There were a lot of people who applied for the grant and everyone knew it was a long shot to be granted any money. To the surprise of everyone involved the members were notified that they would in fact be granted seed money which amounted to 30% of the total cost of the project. Without hesitation an array of solar panels were installed on the roof of the Village Green.

The solar panels are fairly easy to install and go together very quickly explained Woody. The panels were put on the back of the building because it’s almost due south facing with very little shade. The roof is almost flat making it idea to absorb the maximum amount of rays from the sun with very little energy loss. The panels are almost unnoticeable and will generate about $4000 worth of energy per year. The hope is to educate people about alternative renewable energy and is part of what we all need to be thinking about.

The panels were purchased by the members of the Village Green and installed by David Wall of Affordable Energy Concepts. The entire system creates about 25 kilowatts of power. Compared to the average home system that creates about 4 kilowatts of power. The solar array will generate enough electricity to power the entire Village Green Complex about 70% of the time. It’s also a grid tied system so all the surrounding buildings are actually benefiting from it.

Floyd County Virginia continues to be a leader in innovative renewable energy concepts and is a trail blazer in this industry.

Many thanks to everyone involved in this project.