OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects

Lotts Creek Community School

OSMRE / VISTA: Carvin "Gregg" Hewins
Supervisor: Alice Whittaker
Address: 5837 Lotts Creek Rd, Hazard, Kentucky 41701
County: Knott and Perry
Voice Telephone: 606-233-0626
Email: whitaker.alice@yahoo.com
Web site: http://www.lottscreek.org/
Congressional District: 5th
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)


Lotts Creek Community School, Inc. works to provide public education for the children of isolated, impoverished, and neglected Knott and Perry counties. Not only does Lotts Creek provide education for an enrollment of 325 students in grades K through 12, but it is also a critical community partner providing a variety of outreach programs (medicine assistance, home repair, gardening assistance, food pantry).

About the Surrounding Community

Both Knott and Perry Counties were founded in the 1880s in the midst of the economic boom of the coal industry. The zip codes served by the Lotts Creek Community School are typical coal communities that are very isolated and rural with high levels of poverty, low educational attainment, and many health disparities. Of all the residents served by the Lotts Creek Community School, 21.1% of them are below national poverty level and their average per capita income is 16.82% below national level. For Fiscal Year 2015, both Knott and Perry County are qualified for Distressed County status on the basis of low per capita income and high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Project Overview

The OSMRE/VISTA project promotes poverty alleviation and healthy initiatives by teaching families gardening techniques to provide a new source of income for families and to increase access to fresh, healthy foods in Knott and Perry counties. Through a partnership with the Knott County Extension Office, the project conducts gardening presentations to both improve gardening techniques and to promote the importance of gardening in a sustainable community. The project recruits families and community centers to participate in workshops that provide various materials for use in home and community gardens. In addition, the project developed the Lotts Creek Learning Garden as an afterschool hands-on nutrition education center for students. The project also recruits and facilitates a minimum of 10% of the gardening workshop participants to sell additional produce at local Farmer’s Markets. These workshops have aided in the establishment of 32 garden sites that have produced a total of 17,600 pounds of fresh produce in 2014.

Sponsors and Partners

Knott County Extension Office

InVision Hazard

Community Farm Alliance

Perry County Farmers’ Market

Knott County Conservation Board

Natural Resources Conservation Service