In recent years, thousands of more people in coal mining communities throughout the U.S. have been let go from their employment. It's an industry which has been shrinking for decades. And as more people continue to struggle with trying to get by, a few farmers in one of those coal communities went looking to hydroponics for help.
As you can see from the graph above, the downtrend trend indicates an increased lowering of the average annual number of employed coal miners in the U.S.
Joel McKinney is just one man who wanted to help his community get back on their feet and he thought that setting up a hydroponics system could then help him to help others, and he was right. In West Virginia, McKinney has set up a hydroponic garden that is able to grow around 44 plants at a time and he has tried to optimize space by growing his plants vertically.
He is able to sell his produce to local residents and he makes on average about $800 or more a month. Not all of the produce is sold though, because he chooses to give away to the food pantry in town that is run by his parents. McKinney is also planning to teach others how to grow in the same way using the hydroponics method, and teach them how to market their own products so that they will be able to earn on their own.
McKinney is dedicated to networking with local farmers in his community, in McDowell County, and helping them to create wealth, create jobs, and build their community back up again. Earlier this year Walmart decided to close their only supercenter in the McDowell County area and now residents there find themselves having to travel at least an hour in order to find groceries somewhere else.
McKinney compares the skill of being able to grow food to that of being able to quilt or make necklaces. These are marketable skills that can help them to give something of value to others in the market. There is a growing need for quality produce in that area and this is just one individual who is determined to do what he can in order to meet that need for the community.