We are a community non-profit in Harlan County, Kentucky that looks to traditional folkways to create innovative solutions to Appalachia's challenges, while inviting in the broader world to engage and connect to our natural and cultural heritage.

Our Mission

At Pine Mountain Settlement School, our mission is to enrich people and enhance lives through Appalachian place-based education for all ages.

Our Strategy

In carrying out our mission, we take a holistic approach to the stewardship of our natural, agricultural, human and built environment through community development, environmental education, sustainability, and Appalachian cultures and heritage. 


Community Development

We are ensuring that our community has access to high-quality early childhood education and healthy, low-cost food options.  Our Little School program provides high quality learning experiences that benefit both children and adults. Children learn, explore, socialize, play outdoors, and eat farm-fresh food 3 days per week.  In the summer we widen our scope and serve as a USDA summer feeding site. Each summer we provide a healthy and free breakfast and lunch to over 100 unique children.  These free programs are overhwelmingly supported by donations.  


Environmental Education

We preserve the 800-acre Bickford State Nature Preserve, including removing invasive species and protecting our hemlock trees against woolly adelgid. But we also teach more than 3,000 children each year about our natural resources and how we can better steward them through our daily interactions and choices. We are developing the next generation of conservationists. 


Sustainability and Farm

Each year over 80 participants--feeding more than 300 family members--participate in our Farm Institute. Through more than a dozen free workshops, our participants gain organic seeds and gardening supplies as well as practical knowledge on how to maintain their gardens and extend their season.  We also helped to launch the first-ever Harlan County Farmer's Market, had the first honey harvest in over 50 years at Pine Mountain, participated in Kentucky's hemp pilot, and have egg-producing chickens in the barn below the Chapel.


Pine Mountain Settlement School is leading the way in creating solutions for the most critical issues facing Eastern Kentucky and the surrounding areas. And we do it in a way that draws people and connections.
— Dr. Geoff Marietta, Executive Director