Bridging the Rural / Urban Divide — watch the recorded first session & enroll for next 3 sessions!

Develop the skills you need for our changing world
Masters of Applied Community Development

Rural-Urban Divide Webinar Series

Watch the recording by clicking the button above and send it to someone who might be interested in joining for Part 2 and beyond! Register Below for Part Two.

Job Announcement:

LiKEN & Martin County Concerned Citizens seek Community Engagement Coordinator 

Posted: June 4, 2021
Application deadline: June 25, 2021 or until position is filled

We seek a full-time community organizer to work on community development projects in eastern Kentucky. The position will be based primarily in Martin and surrounding counties. The initial contract will be for one year, with the potential to become a permanent position.

Job Description: We are looking for an energetic individual with a passion to contribute to the wellbeing of communities in eastern Kentucky. We seek someone who enjoys working with people. A key responsibility will be to organize outreach and recruit participants in various community development projects. Your role will be to motivate and support people as they come together to identify needs and to solve problems in their locales. You will play an essential role in building effective communication and collaboration among diverse partners in this work — including community members and nonprofits, local and state officials, and researchers. Your first responsibility is to listen deeply to the diverse perspectives within the communities you serve. Other responsibilities will be to conduct educational and planning workshops, write reports, and to build leadership and skills among project participants. In 2021-22, this job will focus on projects to improve the safety and affordability of drinking water and to document problems of heirs’ property (e.g., land that has been passed on without a will to multiple descendents)  across many counties in eastern KY.

Background:  This position is co-managed by Martin County Concerned Citizens (MCCC) and the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN). MCCC is a grassroots organization based in Inez, KY. Its mission is to help the citizens of Martin County in their pursuit of safe, reliable, and affordable drinking water and to give them a voice in their own community.  LiKEN is a linktank, based in Lexington, KY LiKEN’s mission is to help communities to grow good livelihoods based on local assets, to build community health and wealth, and to take evidence-based action for future well-being based on deep understanding of the past. We work on projects to protect and care for resources that people depend on for basic life needs — such as safe and affordable water, healthy forests and food, vibrant culture, equitable and dependable access to land and public revenues, etc.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Recruit new project participants
  • Plan and implement action plans
  • Conduct research
  • Train members in organizing and leadership skills
  • Communicate clearly, both orally and in writing
  • Plan and generate turnout for events
  • Help members in their contacts with public officials and researchers and help to translate between, and overcome miscommunication among, community members, officials, and researchers

Essential Qualifications:

  • A self-starter with the ability to work independently, think strategically, and be organized in a fast paced work environment
  • Demonstrated experience in bringing people together and guiding them towards collective action
  • Ability to complete complex assignments in a timely manner, to conduct research with accuracy and attention to details, and to document activities adequately for other team members
  • Strong speaking and writing skills
  • Skills in conflict resolution
  • Familiarity with computers and Microsoft Office
  • Bachelor’s Degree 

Personal characteristics

  • Commitment to MCCC and LiKEN’s goals and values
  • Ability to get along well with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Kind, empathic, and community-oriented
  • Desire to seek out and learn from feedback
  • Respectful of human differences and non judgemental
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends, and to occasionally travel out of town for 3-4 days at a time
  • Residence in one of the counties served by our projects

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Personal and / or family roots in, and first-hand experience of Appalachian KY, and a good understanding of the region’s history and issues
  • Experience with online organizing and outreach tools
  • College-level courses in Appalachian Studies as well as courses in water or other environmental or natural sciences 

Salary and Benefits:

Starting salary $31k-$38k, depending on experience. Benefits include health insurance coverage, two weeks’ paid vacation, retirement program.

Application must include: cover letter (tell us why you are interested in the job), resume, contact information for 3 professional references

Send application materials to: Betsy Taylor,

All documents should be in either Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf).


The Rural-Urban Divide: How We Got Into This Mess, How We’ll Get Out

(image by Future Generations University)

A Future Generations University Webinar

LiKEN invites you to join Anthony Flaccavento, with guest speakers Kathy Cramer and Erica Etelson, on four free webinars in June hosted by Future Generations University. Please join us in taking a deeper dive into the rural-urban divide, how we got into this mess, and how we’ll get out. 

To Register for the Free Webinar 
7:00 – 8:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th, 2021
More information about the series.

More about the webinar series: The rural-urban divide is deep, widespread, and it is getting worse.  Liberal people from cities and suburbs think most rural folks are ignorant, racist, uncultured, stuck in the past, and their communities heading towards oblivion.  Many in the countryside view urban people, academics, and the government as elitist, contemptuous of rural ways, and dismissive of the people living and working there.  While race and racial resentment play major roles in this polarization, the divide between urban and rural is perhaps the most poorly understood component of our divisions.  And it’s killing us and dividing all of us, enabling the richest people and biggest corporations to dominate our democracy while the great majority of us fight amongst ourselves.  How did we get here and how do we begin to overcome the rural-urban divide?  More to the point, what role have people who espouse a fair and just world played in exacerbating the divide, and what must we do differently?

LiKEN and Appalachian Voices are proud co-sponsors of this Future Generations University webinar.

elitefeats World Aids Marathon

USATF Certified Half and Full is a BQ

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Far Rockaway – Rain or Shine

All participants get:
World AIDS Marathon Finisher Medal, Buff 
1st 100 Registrants get a Long Sleeve Tee

10K Run/Walk – 2.5 hr cut off
Half Marathon – 4 hr cut off
Full Marathon – 6 hr cut off

Race instructions regarding the event start will be sent out by the evening before the event.

Please be Mindful as social distancing will be in effect at the start line with staggered and chip-timed starts.

Be Prepared &
 bring a mask or buff. You do not have to run wearing your mask/buff but have it on you at all times.

No formal bag check. elitefeats cannot take responsibility for any personal belongings – Bag Check for Marathoners & Half Marathoners ONLY.

There will be water / Electrolyte support for Marathoners and Half Marathoners – there will be no course water support for the 10k run/walk.

Bathrooms – Public bathrooms located within a few minutes walk from start & finish.

No Spectators – No official bag check


Proceeds from the event are going to the Richard M. Brodsky Foundation

Turkey Trot

Never Stop Running Foundation is a 501(c)3: Supporting athletic and charitable events as they raise awareness and foster community involvement as well as encouraging and promoting Olympic development for local emerging elite and post collegiate runners.

44th Annual Appalachian Studies Virtual Conference, March 11-14, 2021

LIKEN will be co-convening a series of events about the Appalachian Mother Forest at the upcoming virtual meetings of the Appalachian Studies Association. More information can be found here:

The Central Appalachian forest is the world’s oldest and biologically richest temperate zone hardwood system.  For thousands of years this forest has sustained human communities and it continues to do so today. Many of these communities have used these rich native forests as “commons,” meaning, shared sites of harvest, recreation, and community renewal. Because of its unique topography and biodiversity, this forest system provided crucial refugia during past climate shifts, leading some ecologists to call it the ‘mother forest’.  In our current climate crisis, this forest system can again play a crucial role. The Mother Forest Working Group, a collaborative of the University of Kentucky and the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network, invites forest-commons proposals for the 2020 Appalachian Studies Association annual meeting. The meeting’s theme is “Appalachian Understories: Growing Hope and Resilience from Commonwealth to Global Commons,” and forest commoning is a major focus. 

Heirs’ Property Across Race and Place, November 18, 2020

On Wednesday, November 18th, Betsy Taylor will participate in a panel discussion entitled “Heirs’ Property Across Race and Place.” This panel is part of the free webinar “All Land is not Creating Equal: Unleashing Family and Community Wealth through Land Ownership” hosted by the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation and the Aspen Institute. 

Betsy is participating in this panel as part of LiKEN’s new Heirs’ Property project, which investigates issues faced by heirs’ property owners in Appalachia and the southern Black Belt. Heirs’ property is created when land passes to two or more descendants who become “tenants in common” of the property. Heirs’ property can result in a variety of issues for land owners, including lack of incentive to make property improvements and risk of forced partition sales. The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers heirs’ property to be the “leading cause of Black involuntary land loss.” Cassandra Johnson Gaither (Social Scientist, US Forest Service), the panel’s facilitator has done extensive research on heirs’ property in the south. Johnson Gaither is a co-investigator on LiKEN’s new project on heirs’ property in KY, GA, and AL, along with LiKENeer Megan White (Project Director) and Betsy Taylor (LiKEN Executive Director).

For more information, and for free registration, go to this link

43rd Annual Appalachian Studies Conference

Appalachian Understories – March 12-15, 2020 University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

We human Appalachians are fortunate to have the world’s richest temperate forests grace our region. Inspiration for the 43rd Annual ASA Conference is rooted in these forests, and particularly in the easy-to-overlook portion of the woods known as “understory.” In the forest understory, plant and animal life grows between the earthen ground and the more visible canopy, in both shade and sunlight. Recognizing that forest understories are places of beauty and strength, the 2020 ASA Conference will bring to light the many voices of Appalachia that are often obscured. In the understories, people confront stereotypes, myths, marginalization, and violence and meet them with resilience and hope. In addition to native forests and forest-based human experiences, this gathering will highlight stories of Black Appalachians, women, gender, and sexuality, health and healing, and hope spots. Oral history and film-making, along with literature, music, photography, and other art forms, will be among our featured “understories” exploration methods. We also celebrate Appalshop’s 50th anniversary, revisiting the Whitesburg studio’s important documentary legacy and learning about the “understories” it continues to produce today. Like the forest that inspires us, and like the 42 previous ASA conferences, this gathering offers growth, beauty, hope, and nourishment.

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting – November 16, 2018

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting – November 16, 2018

On November 16, 2018, at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA, LiKEN Associate Director, Julie Maldonado, will be a roundtable presenter, for Resettlement as an Act of Cultural Survival: An Update from Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribal Leaders and Partners.

American Folklore Society Meeting – October 20, 2018

American Folklore Society Meeting – October 20, 2018

On October 20, LiKEN Associate Director, Mary Hufford, presented a paper at the American Folklore Society Meeting: “Feasting on Time’s Body: Reflexive Commensality as Narrative Ecological Practice.” Part of a panel entitled “Sensate Worlds: Perception and Power from Multi-Species Perspectives,” the talk explored the ways in which our speaking recovers the points of view of more-than-human others, ways that become accessible to us when we reflect together on the meanings of words for local things, and their sensory impacts.