Community Voices will kickoff its spring 2012 series with a talk by local entrepreneur, Woody Crenshaw, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Blacksburg.   

Social entrepreneur and businessman Crenshaw will speak on sustainable development in Floyd County and the Blue Ridge Plateau, particularly the revitalization of agriculture and farming. Crenshaw is a founding member and president of the rapidly growing SustainFloyd, an organization operating projects that include the Floyd Farmers Market, the Farm to School Program, the Floyd Artisan Tour, the SustainFloyd Film Series, the first Floyd Energy Inventory, and new development projects for produce and dairy processing facilities.  

SustainFloyd also operates the organic certified Shooting Creek Farm. The farm is used as an education center. With the help of a grant from Virginia Tech the farm is developing curriculum that will allow SustainFloyd to respond to the growing local interest and support for revitalizing Floyd’s agricultural assets.

Crenshaw and his wife Jackie are owners of Crenshaw Lighting, a high-end lighting studio, employing forty local craftsmen and designers. The Crenshaws own the Floyd Country Store, home of the Friday Night Jamboree.  The restored historic site features a snack bar, book, CD, and clothing sections; and, has become a hub of local community activity.  The Crenshaws are beginning the second growing season at their Riverstone farm on the Little River. A certified organic farm, Riverstone represents for the Crenshaws a major sustainable development initiative building on local strengths and environmental resources.

Crenshaw's program for Community Voices will combine stories and living cases from an emerging and vital expression of local innovation and entrepreneurship for sustainable development. For more than a decade, Crenshaw has been an advocate for the creative economy of Southwest Virginia and specifically Floyd County. His interests have focused on using craft, music, and alternative agriculture as a vehicle for community development.

The event is open to the public and admission is free. The Community Voices speakers are engaged in fostering work that strengthens community.  Their leadership includes the capacity to speak cogently and concisely about their experiences, to tell stories that are revealing of their work, and to present ideas for change, ideas that matter.

Sponsors: 

Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance, The Community Foundation of the New River Valley, Virginia Tech Center for Student Engagement and Community Partnerships, The Floyd Country Store, Virginia Tech Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, Planning, Governance and Globalization Program of Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Written by Andy Morikawa of Blacksburg, Va., fellow at the Institute for Policy and Governance in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and Outreach and International Affairs.