Growing the Appalachian Food Economy (Asheville, NC)


A fast-growing demand for local food and the need for economic diversification today are moving Appalachian communities to use their food assets and sustainable agriculture in creative ways to help revitalize their economies. By providing support for local food systems, community leaders can help build stronger links between producers and consumers, keeping more income and wealth in the local economy.

To help expand the role of food assets in local economic development in Appalachia, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is hosting Growing the Appalachian Food Economy: A Forum on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture on April 3–4, 2012, in Asheville, North Carolina. Co-sponsored by USDA Rural Development, the Ford Foundation, and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, the forum will provide an opportunity for community leaders; economic development officials; farmers; food producers, processors, and distributors; and public and private funding partners to share ideas and learn practical ways local food systems can increase employment opportunities, spark entrepreneurial ventures, and build local wealth in Appalachian communities.

Forum participants will hear from practitioners and experts on topics including

  • the economic and community impacts of supporting local food systems;
  • why the "local food" economic development approach is particularly useful for Appalachian communities;
  • how to take advantage of innovative models of capital and credit that support local food economies;
  • how to develop and encourage a "buy local" community mindset; and more.

They will also have the opportunity to participate in local food and farm tours showcasing local food business ventures and sustainable farms.


Preliminary Agenda

Join your colleagues for this informative event! The forum will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2012–Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 31 Woodfin Street, Asheville, North Carolina 28801 (phone 828.252.8211 or 1.800.359.7951).

REGISTER NOWOnline registration ends March 26.

Questions regarding the forum? Contact the Appalachian Regional Commission at or 202.884.7700.