The Appalachian Foodshed Project, an initiative with West Virginia University support, has awarded grants to three community projects that seek to enhance community food security in West Virginia.
The three funded projects in the Mountain State, along with six in Virginia and North Carolina, are building on the work that is already happening in the region, while increasing access to local fresh foods, creating new opportunities for collaboration, and building capacity for advocacy and action.
“These projects all address community food security in some capacity and are wonderful examples of the creative food systems work in our region. We are excited to support efforts that truly embody the innovative spirit of Appalachia,” said AFP director Susan Clark.
According to AFP stakeholders, community food security involves:
• Ensuring that healthy food is accessible and available to all community members
• Empowering communities to determine where/how to focus work for food system change
• Cultivating ecologically and financially sustainable agriculture
• Balancing food security and farm security
• Engaging youth and young people
• Fostering a healthier community
• Working for justice and equity
The West Virginia grants went to:
• Alderson Community “Food Access for All” —Lead Organization: Alderson Community Food HUB; Counties Represented: Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers; $6,300
• SAGE, or Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurs—Lead organization: CADCO Foundation and the Charleston Area Alliance; Counties Represented: Kanawha; $3,700
• Farm to Pantry Matching Program—Lead Organization: Monongalia County Family Resource Center; Counties Represented: Monongalia, Preston, Marion; $10,000
Cheryl Brown, an associate professor of agricultural and resource economics in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, has been working with peers at Virginia Tech and North Carolina State on the $2.041 million project, which is being funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through 2016.
“A thriving local food system can improve children’s health, reconnect us to the land, allow farmers to prosper, and attract new farmers to agriculture,” Brown said. “Yet the current food system still presents barriers to those with limited financial resources regarding access to sufficient food, much less high quality locally grown food.
“We need to connect impoverished communities to healthier, locally grown food,” she added.
The long-term goal of the grant project is to strengthen, sustain, and expand the South-Atlantic Appalachian Region foodshed of Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina with the dual aim of increasing food security and economic viability within historically disadvantaged communities of cultural Appalachia.
For more information on the project, please visit its home page at http://www.appalachianfoodshedproject.org/.
CONTACT: David Welsh, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design
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