Community Programs & Initiatives
In 2023 Velocity's investors spent millions purchasing over 1200 acres along the Pigeon River and in the surrounding areas off exits 440 and 447 for their mono-economy development plans...along with purchasing two of Hartford's main white water rafting companies. Despite the magnitude of this project, Cocke County officials deny any involvement or knowledge of what is clearly much more than a concept happening in our tiny rural area. We expect to have confirmation in the coming weeks of significant additional purchases of large land tracts as well as businesses along the river.
SILENCE IS DEADLY. Please join the fight before it is too late to save Hartford from irreversible destruction.
To learn more about this issue and ways you can help, visit
"There can be no compromise in the defense of Mother Earth"
Thank you for your support as our small team puts in literally hundreds of volunteer hours per month working to bring light to facts of the $2 BILLION dollar development being actively pursued in Hartford and surrounding areas of Cocke County ... even as we are continuing to deal with developer and county secrecy on the issue and denial of the truth by those that matter.
Please contact these important decision makers and tell them to SAY NO TO VELOCITY!!! We love growth and development, but we don't like the $2 billion dollar monopoly game - our county is for all of us. Now is the time for voices to join together in demanding transparency and action on part of these officials, before the 1200+ acres already purchased by the developers become irreversibly destroyed by corruption, greed, and unsustainable practices.
Now that the paper mill in Canton, North Carolina finally closed in June 2023 and we are no longer in danger of detrimental levels of water pollution in the Pigeon River that have been present for over a century... We are up against the biggest fight of our lifetime here in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee ~ a $2 Billion dollar development project has been privately in the works for Hartford, TN. Located in Cocke County, there can be no doubt that the interests and ambitions of this massive project lie outside of respect or concern for the Appalachian culture, people, and ecosystems, as there have been no indications of the local community or the environment being seen as stakeholders in this project although it has been in the works for at least 5-7 years. Hartford is well known for whitewater rafting in the summer and for it's surrounding natural beauty with forests, trails, creeks - and lack of major human population – year round. Over the past 5-7 years Velocity has been privately planning with the county without any public knowledge, buying property under multiple individual and llc names throughout district 1, and as of 2023 beginning to buy out the small business rafting companies and their land along the Pigeon River as well. While county officials are denying any involvement or knowledge, we have found extensive proof otherwise. Take a look at this 39 page plan that clearly outlines a chilling narrative in full color: there will be no more Hartford, there will be no more Appalachian culture, there will be no more natural beauty and environment left if they are successful at their big city dreams in our corner of Appalachia, one of the last bastions of these mountains and its people not already destroyed by coal mining, mountain top removal, fracking and unchecked development.
This is not a rumor, this is not a test. This is a real fight to #savehartford. For more information or to show support, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on facebook @ Save Hartford, and sign the petition at Change.org.
Youth in Action
CWEET's youth programs have varied over the years and have always included art advocacy, education, and direct actions to support healthy environments. CWEET has facilitated collaborating with members of Bread and Puppet Theatre to create spoof videos about pollution dangers to fish in the Pigeon River and sponsored grassroots teen youth groups and their direct actions such as tree planting, trash pickups, and peaceful climate change protests. CWEET accompanied their youth to facilitate an interactive teen area at Get off the Grid Fest, a regional renewable energy festival.
Since the '21-'22 school year, we have been able to also spend time in our local, rural schools a few times each year. One visit to a 5th and 6th grade class involved teaching the history of the Pigeon river and the legislative struggles involved with fighting for a clean environment, followed by a full hands-on participatory seminar in their local park and creek catching and counting macro-invertabrates and learning how to understand the health of the water through citizen science. On a fun visit to an after school program, activities were focused on learning all about djembes and other hand drums... and then all of the youth participating in a drum circle to experience the art of music first hand!
Whether through art creation at our annual chalk4peace event, or a make & take workshop at the art & garden festival, or at special events just for kids and teens, we are committed to supporting the next generation through art as activism a medium to engage and integrate the world they traverse with the changes they are seeing in the environment.
CWEET even has a youth board position to encourage inter-generational communications and training in organizational leadership. That seat is currently filled by Sid, a 16 year old Appalachian youth. She has been part of the current generation's youth emerging leaders and activists from a young age and is passionate about two things more than any other: art, and the state environment. We recently asked her how she felt about CWEET and the impact it's had on her youth. Here's what she had to say: “It's definitely a positive influence in my life, it's motivating, and it's a current example of things people are doing to make the world better. CWEET makes me feel better about all of the things that need to be better. I've learned ways to work on what needs done, how to organize people for group projects, and how to get things done. How do I feel about grassroots activism? I think we need more of it ~ making things better in a bunch of places on a small scale is the way to do it!”