It was once a surface mine site, now it is something way different, a lavender farm. The farm’s purpose is to bring West Virginian’s back to work through a new program. “The Green Mining program is basically a program in which we bring miners who are unemployed, or their families or anyone that’s been affected by the downturn in the mining fields here in West Virginia. Along, with the veterans who have returned from service and put them into a program in which they can grow lavender on reclaimed surface mine sites here in West Virginia” Project Coordinator Marina Sawyer said.
The CEO of West Virginia Regional Technology Park came up with the idea on how to create jobs with something high value, that could help the state and West Virginian’s. With this vision, Sawyer went out to the Four Mile Mountain, which was once a Pritchard surface mine, with hopes of being able to grow a product that could bring in that revenue and lavender made the cut. Now, many of you may be wondering why lavender? Well, lavender is a high end value product. It takes about three years to develop and then is made into oils, medicines and cosmetics. And that demand is making this program more than successful. “I mean, I can’t complain we are putting people back to work temporarily, we are putting people back to work full time. We are putting the word out to get more participants for the second go around, we are trying desperately to make a difference” Sawyer added.
Sawyer is hoping this will continue to help West Virginia’s economy and unemployment rate.