The Central Appalachian Network (CAN) has partnered with the Center for Rural Strategies to spotlight efforts throughout the region to support local, healthy food economies. CAN’s mission is “to work with individuals, community leaders, businesses, policy makers, nonprofit organizations, and others to develop and deploy new economic strategies that create wealth and reduce poverty while restoring and conserving the environment.” The Center for Rural Strategies, headquartered in Whitesburg, KY, “seeks to improve economic and social conditions for communities in the countryside and around the world through the creative and innovative use of media and communications. By presenting accurate and compelling portraits of rural lives and cultures, we hope to deepen public debate and create a national environment in which positive change for rural communities can occur.”
Together, CAN and Center for Rural Strategies have put together a great slideshow highlighting the fruits of our famers’ labor, accessible here.
Efforts to communicate the story of local farmers are complemented by “Buy Local” campaigns throughout the region. One of the emerging tools to support local farmers in the region is the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Buy Appalachian Guide. The Guide features products by growers in Virginia, North Carolina and other parts of the Southern Appalachians. Growers can request to be included in the Guide, by filling out this form.
ASAP seeks to “collaboratively create and expand regional community based and integrated food systems that are locally owned and controlled, environmentally sound, economically viable, and health-promoting.”
By sharing compelling stories about the producers themselves and making access to high quality, regionally-sourced products, groups like CAN, Center for Rural Strategies and ASAP hope to support the continued growth of agriculture in the Appalachian economy.