In honor of National Agriculture Week and Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to share some of the important history of Lindy Turner

Lindy is the Executive Director at Clinch-Powell Resource Conservation & Development Conservation Council aka Clinch-Powell. Lindy works with the board members and oversees the Clinch-Powell programs. Lindy’s hometown is Crab Orchard, TN but she moved to Oak Ridge, TN when she was four. She currently resides in Blaine, TN. She received her undergraduate degree from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville with a B.S in Agricultural Science, then went on to do graduate work at New Mexico State University. Lindy served with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for thirty years and retired in 2011.

Under Lindy’s leadership as one of Tennessee’s first female District Soil Conservationists, Clinch-Powell was born and began serving rural communities in East Tennessee in 1989 as a Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D). Clinch-Powell is celebrating 34 years in mid-April 2023 thanks to Lindy’s dedication and leadership.RC&Ds were established by the Agriculture Act of 1962 to serve rural communities with the purpose of helping local people protect and develop their economic, natural, and social resources in ways that improve their area’s economy, environment, and quality of life. The Clinch-Powell RC&D Council was formed out of a bi-state task force, between Tennessee and Virginia, put in place to protect and nurture the communities within the watersheds of the Clinch and Powell Rivers. Both rivers have one of the most biodiverse collections of freshwater aquatic species in the world. That effort was organized and led by Lindy Turner.

Most of Clinch-Powell’s early conservation work was focused on providing technical assistance to farmers to instill best practices and protective measures for streams on their properties. Lindy, however, had a question that she kept asking, “How much can a farmer be expected to care about stream protection when their house is in disrepair and they are struggling financially?” Multiple first-hand experiences of that type became the driving force to expand Clinch-Powell’s scope of services from only conservation services to housing development and rehabilitation services.

It became clear that a farmer could be helped more effectively if they received technical assistance on stream protection to help their cows and, at the same time, receive more social supportive services provided by the same organization…Clinch-Powell! Due to Clinch-Powell’s capacity that expanded with AmeriCorps members, the farmers could get their house repaired with the help of the same organization utilizing the USDA 504 Housing Repair program. It was a win-win for everyone involved!

Under Lindy’s leadership, Clinch-Powell started its Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps program in 1996, and is now one of the largest in the state, placing members in other nonprofits, soil conservation districts, and state parks across Tennessee. In fact, Clinch-Powell touts itself as “the organization that AmeriCorps built”. In fact, the majority of Clinch-Powell employees began as Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps members.

In early 2001, at the request of Douglas Cherokee Economic Authority, Clinch-Powell ventured into affordable housing development. The following year, Clinch-Powell received the official designation as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), chartered its subsidiary construction company, became a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency and a mortgage loan originator.

Clinch-Powell started the Appalachian Quilt Trail in 2003; a modest example of the ecotourism industry with the goal to get people off of the beaten path to visit smaller rural businesses. Then, a few years later, a larger ecotourism endeavor, River Place on the Clinch, was opened in Kyles Ford, TN.

Today, Lindy continues to lead the important work of Clinch-Powell. She is surrounded by a team that she inspires, respects and holds to a high standard of excellence. When she’s not being the fearless leader that she is, she enjoys spending time with her family and grandchildren, relaxing on the beach and catching up on her reading.

Today, and always, we honor this amazing woman who continues to make history every single day!