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.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min read
Jacob Collier: Tiny Desk Concert
As the the NPR staff gathered to watch his performance, Jacob Collier sprinted full bore down the hallway for his set, hardly able to contain his creative energy or enthusiasm.
NPR2 min read
Some Title X Recipients Will Have More Time To Comply With New Abortion Rules
The rules block recipients of federal grants from referring patients for abortion. The Trump administration says groups working in "good faith" will have until Aug. 19 to provide written assurance.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Ukrainian President's Party Wins Snap Elections In Bid To Consolidate Power
President Volodymyr Zelensky, who gained fame by playing a fictional president on television, hopes a new parliament will give him the clout to follow through on his promise to tackle corruption.