Tune-in to WOL 1450 AM tomorrow, August 19, for Everything Co-op hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon interviews Amanda Marple, Education and Outreach Program Director at West Virginia University’s Center for Resilient Communities. Vernon and Amanda will discuss how the Center builds capacities of collaborators to develop participatory action research for social change.
Amanda is an Appalachian Cooperative educator and advocate who develops, organizes, and implements non-traditional modes of learning within the University context. She holds an MA in Geography and conducts action research focused on cooperatives enterprises as an alternative means of grassroots economic organizing. Amanda is also a founder of FIRSTHAND Co-op a fair trade coffee company in the heart of Appalachia.
As Director of Education and Outreach with the WVU Center for Resilient Communities, her work forefronts justice and equity at the center of our food systems, supporting access, affordability, and dignity for all. Amanda has used cooperative models, values, and ethos to organize with rural communities facing significant food access barriers and work with organizations aiming to build cooperative food production power across the state of West Virginia, envisioning a food sovereignty plan for communities across the state and the region.
Most recently, Amanda has been working with a group of cooperators in Charleston, WV aiming to build worker cooperatives and cooperative ecosystems throughout the state to address the need for equitable, well-paying, and responsive community jobs in a region heavily reliant on extractive industry dominated by outside interests.