The Appalachian Foodshed Project has awarded grants to nine community projects that seek to enhance community food security in West Virginia and the Appalachian region of North Carolina and Virginia. Funded projects 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 Susan Clark, associate professor at Virginia Tech and the project director.
According to project 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.
A total of $56,000 was awarded to projects in the three-state region.
The Appalachian Foodshed Project is a collaborative effort among community-based organizations, three universities (Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, North Carolina State University) and Cooperative Extension in West Virginia, and the Appalachian regions of North Carolina and Virginia. The project’s mission is to help create a place-based food system that is resilient, accessible, affordable, and healthy for Appalachian communities. This USDA funded initiative aims to facilitate a network of organizations and individuals working to address issues of community development, economic viability, health, nutrition, food access, social justice, and agriculture in western North Carolina, southwest Virginia, and West Virginia.