Hazard Community and Technical College is exploring ideas in agriculture and has started discussions about the possibilities in this region to help the local economy through untapped resources. Two areas discussed include aquaponics, the growing of fish and vegetables, and aquaculture for fish production.
HCTC is forming partnerships with non-profit agencies, local government, and private industry to develop a plan for the region, in multiple counties. “We want to identify what grows best in this area based on our climate, soil, and typography,” noted HCTC President Dr. Jennifer Lindon. “Our goal is to help farmers – both those who have farmed for years and those who are considering farming to support their families,” she said.
Future plans involve seeking funding for a feasibility study. “We need to talk to experts about this before we jump in,” Dr. Lindon said. “I’ve been pleased to see what local governments are already doing towards this effort.” HCTC has obtained approval to offer Agriculture Technology and Sustainable Agriculture certificates.
Groups involved in the discussion include: the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, UK Extension office, Promise Zone, SOAR, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Mountain Comprehensive Health Care and local agriculture programs such as Community Farm Alliance and North Fork Local Foods.