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Program 1221

1. Pine Mountain Settlement School
2. Artcroft
3. Lexington Farmers’ Market
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Season 12 Menu

Harlan County

For more information:
Pine Mountain Settlement School, 36 Hwy. 510, Pine Mountain, KY 40810
Kentucky Life Program 1208 is a special edition on the natural and human treasures of Pine Mountain, including the school.

Producer, videographer, editor: Brandon Wickey
Audio: Thomas Cooper

Pining for Education

Pine Mountain Settlement School

This edition of Kentucky Life begins with a trip to one of Kentucky’s most beautiful places to visit an institution that has been serving community needs for nearly a century.

In 1913, schools were few and far between in Appalachia, and roads were poor. Southeastern Kentucky’s Pine Mountain, a nearly 100-mile ridge with only one natural break, presented an especially formidable barrier to travel, leaving many children in the area without any access to education. So local landowner William Creech decided to help fill the gap by donating some land at the head of Greasy Creek, in Harlan County, for the founding of a school.

To operate it, he recruited Katherine Pettit of Lexington and Ethel de Long Zande of New Jersey. They were part of a generation of educated young women, energized by the Progressive movement of the day, who wanted to make a difference in the world but found their career choices severely limited. Several of them spent time as teachers or school administrators in Eastern Kentucky and the rest of Appalachia.

At first, the new Pine Mountain Settlement School offered elementary through middle grades. But as more of the surrounding communities began to get elementary schools, it evolved into a boarding school for high school students, with a heavy emphasis on vocational skills and crafts.

That idea of changing to meet the needs of a changing community has continued to guide Pine Mountain Settlement School. Though it still offers programs for kids who need a little extra academic help, it is now primarily a center for environmental education. On any given day, you may find students learning about the geology of coal, inventorying and measuring trees, testing stream water, or tracking animals all over the school’s 625 acres—348 of which make up the James E. Bickford State Nature Preserve.

Other classes at Pine Mountain range from Appalachian folk dancing to Native American and pioneer history and crafts. The school also functions as a community center, hosting everything from weddings to club meetings to an annual summer fair.

Nicholas County

For more information:
Artcroft Foundation, 2075 Johnson Rd., Carlisle, KY 40311

Producer: Tom Thurman
Videographer: John Breslin
Audio: Thomas Cooper

Cows and Creativity


The next stop on our itinerary is also a center of learning in a beautiful natural setting. At Artcroft, a working farm outside Carlisle in Nicholas County, the crops include cow and goat milk, organic vegetables—and art.

Inspired by such examples as New England’s McDowell, friends Robert and Maureen Barker and Florence Thorne started talking about turning the farm into an artist’s retreat in the late 1990s. Today, they host writers, painters, and sculptors from around the country for one- to four-week residencies, during which the artists can escape many of the myriad distractions of daily life and concentrate on creating. Most receive fellowships that pay their living expenses, but some help pay their way by gardening or working on a construction project.

While offering plenty of privacy and solitude, Artcroft also seeks to foster artistic interaction. During their stays, residents share in the preparing and eating of the evening meal and are encouraged to take part in art activities for the community. Because many leave works behind at the end of their stay, the farm is also becoming a sort of private gallery.

In addition to a tour from Robert Barker, our visit includes conversations with artist Nicole Ponsler about her stay at Artcroft and with Kentucky writer Ed McClanahan, for whom the Artcroft writing fellowship is named.

Fayette County

For more information:
Lexington Farmers’ Market, P.O. Box 553, Lexington, KY 40588-0553

Producer, videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editor: Jay Akers

Buying Fresh

Lexington Farmers’ Market

Finally, we bring the farm back to the city with a visit to the Lexington Farmers’ Market. Operating four days a week during peak season—and indoors well into the fall—the market offers fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers, including heirloom varieties; organic eggs and meats; and products ranging from honey to homemade soap. Host Dave Shuffett samples the wares and talks to vendors Rowland McIntosh, Sharon Stratton (Hoot Owl Holler Farm), Jay Wood (Cozy Cottage Farm), and Russell Madison about what brings them to the market.

In addition to food, the farmers’ market offers a chance for city dwellers to reconnect with our collective rural past. Rather than anonymous produce shipped from across the country or around the world, it lets customers buy food picked just yesterday—or even earlier today—directly from a neighbor. The farmer gets a better price and can afford to diversify into “niche” crops rather than having to focus on mass production.

Meanwhile, farmers’ markets around Kentucky and the country have been adding cooking and gardening demonstrations, musical performances, children’s activities, and other events, turning an act of commerce into a weekly celebration of community.

This is Kentucky Life’s second visit to a farmers’ market. The first, in Clay City, was part of Program 919.


Sneak Peek

This program closes with a photo gallery from the Kentucky Life special Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures, spotlighting 11 sites chosen by historian Dr. Thomas D. Clark as places every Kentuckian should visit. The photos are by KET staff photographer Steve Shaffer.

SEASON 12 PROGRAMS: 120112021203120412051206120712081209121012111212
1213121412151216121712181219122012211222: Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures

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