The State Department of Environmental Protection says it will focus on hiring veterans and displaced coal miners for its Patriot Gardens Golden Delicious Apple Project. The project is part of a $90 million abandoned mine lands reclamation pilot program in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Apple Project will receive $5.3 million dollars to employ ex-miners and veterans to plant 100,000 apple trees on 500 acres in Nicholas and Clay counties of West Virginia.
The DEP states that the project was initiated by the West Virginia National Guard. The National Guard is following in the footsteps of the great American Legend Johnny Appleseed to bring apple orchards back to Clay county, the birthplace of the Golden Delicious apple.
The DEP has not stated how many ex-coal miners and veterans would be hired. Thousands of coal miners have been laid off in the area in recent years, and State Department of Environmental Protection officials hope that the project will be able to reduce unemployment in the area.