NPR

Out-Of-Work Appalachian Coal Miners Train As Beekeepers To Earn Extra Cash

In West Virginia, mining jobs have been declining for years, and there have been few other options to make a living. The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective is hoping to help turn that around.
Members of the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective inspect one of their apiaries. The collective trains displaced coal miners in West Virginia on how to keep bees as a way to supplement their income. Source: Courtesy of Kevin Johnson

Just like his grandfather and father before him, James Scyphers spent almost two decades mining coal in West Virginia.

"These were the best jobs in the area; we depended on 'em," he recalls.

But mining jobs started disappearing, declining from 132,000 in 1990 to, devastating the area's economy. In a state that now has the , the long-term decline of coal mining has left West Virginia residents without new options to make a living.

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