What is Social Enterprise?
Rural Action is engaged in diversifying the local economy throughout Ohio’s Appalachian region. Social enterprise exists on a continuum that blends a market approach with a mission that helps the community and environment. The triple bottom line approach of using business tools to foster prosperity, protect the planet, and benefit people is the sweet spot of social enterprise.
The Rural Action Workforce Development Program is a temporary, full-time employment opportunity that provides training and wraparound support to participants. Our goal is to assist individuals who are facing obstacles to meaningful employment. Through this program, you will undergo on-the-job training that will assist in finding long-term employment in our community.
This 6-month program offers positions in several Social Enterprises of Rural Action and Community Partners. Participants will work alongside traditional staff members to develop key skills that will increase their employability, while receiving access to wraparound support, that will assist you in connecting to community resources.
Our Social Enterprises
Since 2009, Rural Action has owned and operated the Chesterhill Produce Auction, a social enterprise that connects thousands of customers throughout Ohio and West Virginia with hundreds of growers who sell local produce, livestock, and wood products at wholesale prices.
Zero Waste Event Productions, LLC was founded in 2015 and works as a waste diversion service provider at music festivals and public events, educates the public and festival attendees about the benefits of landfill diversion, and creates and encourages long-term sustainable reuse and recycling practices.
True Pigments, LLC produces ferric oxide (Fe2O3) pigment from acid mine drainage to facilitate the restoration of seven miles of Sunday Creek, fostering the rejuvenation of aquatic ecosystems and biological communities, stimulating job growth and economic development in the region, and produce opportunities for economic development related to recreation, fish, and wildlife.
UpCycle Ohio Thrift Store has been a hub for affordable and reliable clothing, home goods, and more since its opening in September 2020. Working in partnership with our Zero Waste program, UpCycle Ohio has been giving items a second life all while creating economic opportunities in the region. https://upcycleohio.com/
The Community Makerspace fosters creativity and builds entrepreneurial and educational opportunities in the fields of woodworking, metalworking, fiber and fabric arts, and recycled plastic production in Southeast Ohio. Located in the same building as UpCycle Ohio Thrift Store, the Makerspace offers tools and workshops where members can work, learn, and network with other makers. https://upcycleohio.com/makerspace/
Appalachian Understories tours lay the foundation for participants to forge lasting connections to the Appalachian Ohio’s environment. By showcasing local businesses during tours, they help stimulate the local economy and support our neighbors. By offering a variety of tours, they offer opportunities for people to reconnect with Appalachian Ohio in an innovative and exciting way. https://www.appalachianunderstories.com/
The Appalachian Ohio Native Plant Nursery is our newest social enterprise. Working with local producers, the nursery will produce a rich diversity of native plant stock for the region. The project is currently in the developmental phase and seeking to eventually open a private local nursery. The native plants grown will be regionally-appropriate natives, offering quality plants to be used in restoration projects. Sign up to receive notifications when planting stock is available for purchase.
National Service Members
Each year, Rural Action mobilizes more than 35 energetic and passionate people across the region to help small communities do big things through our Leadership Development and Service program. Our National Service members serve in communities through a yearlong commitment as part of our Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps, an AmeriCorps State/National program administered by Rural Action, or our through our AmeriCorps VISTA program, Rural Renewal. See members who are currently serving with Rural Action here or learn more about how we are growing local leaders here.