WVFCC Awarded Over One Million Dollars to Develop Agriculture into Economic Staple in West Virginia
Charleston, WV - April 10, 2019- The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition (WVFCC), a statewide nonprofit working to build the local food and agriculture system, has been awarded over $1,000,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative for the Geographic Food and Agriculture Systems Development Project.
In line with the WVFCC’s mission to build viable incomes for farmers and local food businesses and ensure that all residents have access to locally produced food, this project utilizes the assets found within communities to develop agriculture into an economic staple by developing food systems at the local, county, and multi-county level. “This announcement continues an ongoing commitment for innovative economic development in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “Investing in key regional needs now will benefit Appalachia, and the rest of the country, well into the future.”
Focusing in five multi-county regions, the project implements coordination, capacity building, training and technical assistance for farmers, food businesses and community members, enabling them to identify and execute agriculture centered businesses.
Along with new business development in the food and agriculture sectors, this project also allows for strengthened collaboration and partnerships between existing businesses and farms in order to access larger markets. This project will bring together local leadership, food-based businesses, and farmers to work together in pursuing the opportunities in local food and agriculture sectors. Five foodshed development coordinators, covering 17 counties, will join the efforts by engaging with the communities in planning, placemaking, collaboration and cooperation, that promote and grow local agriculture.
While helping to diversify the economies of coal-based communities, this project will lead to increased food production and access to markets that were previously unreachable as a result from the strengthened food system. Additional funding for the project is provided by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation.
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) (www.arc.gov)
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government, focusing on 420 counties in the Appalachian Region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.
POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization)
POWER is a congressionally funded initiative that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America's energy production.