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The Foodshed Development program is a way for the Coalition to systematically provide support at a grassroots level for farmers, food-based businesses, and organizations in specific geographic areas. This program is currently funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER grantee program and has placed 5 foodshed coordinators throughout the state to cover 17 counties. These coordinators are working as connectors between community and other partner resources, assisting with farm and business planning activities, and working within communities with teams to host placemaking events, trainings, and build hyper-local food systems.
Central Highlands Foodshed
Randolph, Pendleton, Pocahontas
The Central Highlands Foodshed is a rural mountainous location that thrives on outdoor recreation bringing in thousands of tourists each year. Smaller communities located in this foodshed are faced with limited resources and low access due to the same geography that makes it a great tourism destination. There are many food deserts throughout the Central Highlands. One way we're working to fill the need for healthier food options in this area is to create more food access points through the 219 Project, giving those smaller communities a place to purchase more nutritional dietary options. In this region, you will find a lot of maple syrup producers, along with a community of forest farmers and small farms that practice natural growing methods.
North Central Foodshed
Lewis, Doddridge, Harrison
Among forested hills and river cut valley bottoms, you'll find the North Central Foodshed. The farmers in the foodshed have a variety of value-added products that are sold at the local farmer's markets. Some potential projects if grant proposals are accepted: Turnrow expansion in Weston with a walk-in cooler, feasibility on companion growing with hops, malting grains, and mushrooms for crop/economic diversity, soil and water conservation, and decrease in labor efforts.
Southern Coalfields Foodshed
Mercer, McDowell, Mingo, Wyoming
The Southern Coalfields Foodshed is a very diverse area, both geographically and demographically. But for the past number of decades, the one thing that is found consistent is that most people have a garden and the willingness to help their neighbors. What I have come to recognize is that the Appalachian people are strong , resilient, kind and resourceful. They have endured many hardships but are still standing the tests of times. Through horrible economic struggles and catastrophic floods they still help their neighbors with hearts of gold. They rebuild their land and homes and replant their lives time after time.
Elk River Foodshed
Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Webster
The Elk River Foodshed is a mountainous region dominated by the beautiful Elk River leading to small towns devastated by high unemployment and a drug epidemic. But, thats not the whole story. Community members are proud of where they are from and determined to bring their towns back. In Cowen, Sutton, and Clay, the people are reclaiming their small communities and determined to make them better than before.
Joe Murphy, Foodshed Coordinator (former)
Heart of WV Foodshed
Roane, Calhoun, Ritchie
Whether family roots run generations or are freshly planted, this is a region that cares about community and wants to see it excel. Though many farmers struggle to earn a livable wage on farming alone, they strive to teach sustainable techniques and raise nutritious meat and produce. Local food businesses work hard to bring freshly-made local food to their communities, and there is a sense of togetherness that is refreshingly unique to Appalachia.
Sierra Cox, Foodshed Coordinator (former)
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