Regional food, locally grown and traditionally prepared is part of the experience. Enjoy southern prepared chicken, cornbread, coleslaw, local breads, granolas and other local fare. For student teams preparing food, eating together, and cleaning up including composting and recycling are all part of the learning and immersion experience.
Accommodations are in the expansive valley at Riverstone Farm. A working organic producer, the beauty of this space can accommodate up to 25 visitors in a community setting. Participants, housed and fed in the traditional farmhouse, also have access to campsites on the farm. There is a yurt on the property that serves as a gathering place for discussion and sharing. To stay in town, we have access to discounted rates at an environmentally-recognized hotel.
The Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest mountains on Earth. The range stretches for over 1500 miles from Quebec to Alabama and has been worn by the forces of nature for hundreds of millions of years. The Appalachians are made up of several smaller ranges including the White Mountains of New Hampshire, The Black Mountains of North Carolina, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to name a few. Each has it’s own unique geology and biodiversity. As the ranges were populated and settlers adapted to the natural surroundings, cultural diversity was also shaped. The more accessible regions provided the stage for towns and cities, while less accessible ones became areas of more independent, self-sustaining communities. Such is the case with Floyd County Virginia.
Floyd County is located on a plateau in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains 40 miles Southwest of Roanoke Virginia. It is on the eastern edge of the range where the mountains fall sharply away on 3 sides. Because of the steepness of the approach, settlement was slow to come and even today there are no 4-lane roads or railroads or airports in the county. Agriculture remains the primary economic activity despite limited arable cropland. The picturesque rolling hills support mostly small cattle farms with open pastures and wood lots. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the County for 30 miles along the eastern spine and anchors an emerging tourism economy.
The Town of Floyd, population 450, is the County Seat and largest village. Prior to the 1960’s Floyd’s economy was primarily local and sustainable. Over the next 2 decades the modern world called away many young people and the population decreased. By the late 1970’s a new generation of settlers began to arrive seeking a rural refuge and over time have come to inhabit that spirit of independence and sustainable living. During the last 3 decades many newcomers have joined with old-timers to create a renaissance that has added new life and texture to the community. No where is this more evident than in the town of Floyd itself.
What makes Floyd County unique, among other things, is the level to which it encompasses traditional values from both the old-time community and the newcomers. A high percentage of residents hold a reverential attitude toward the place. The County is a study in contrasts. For example Floyd has both a high speed fiber optic network and more miles of gravel road than any county in Virginia. It is considered one of the best places in America to hear traditional old-time mountain music but you can also enroll in a Twee Naah course at the Laurel Creek School for Chinese Medicine. It is a community where contradictions seem to live in harmony. So it is that Floyd County embodies both the traditional values of Appalachia, and progressive strategies for sustainable rural development so important for the 21st century.
Via International is a proud partner of Sustain Floyd working to leverage and preserve Floyd County’s existing assets and traditional strengths in agriculture and craftsmanship to help build a resilient rural local economy. Supporting the growth of our community’s next generation requires a community commitment, which is why we work closely with local and state governments and agencies, local businesses, like-minded non-profits and local citizens. Together we can find ways to develop the financial and ecological health of our community for the well-being of all citizens of Floyd County. But we also join with other communities throughout the region and around the globe to model new ways of living on, working in, and caring for the world around us.
203 S. Locust Street Suite H. Floyd, VA 24091
Phone: (540) 345-7333