The funds, which were awarded through ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative, will be used to expand ASD’s Central Appalachian Food Corridor, which connects regional farmers to wholesale distribution markets.
“We are so grateful for the support of the ARC, which will enable us to continue and expand this transformative project,” said Kathlyn Terry, ASD executive director, in a press release. “We are looking forward to working with the many partners and farmers in Central Appalachia who are committed to an Appalachian transition and to leveraging the long history of agriculture in our beautiful region.”
ASD — in partnership with Refresh Appalachia, Sprouting Farms, the Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Community Farm Alliance and Whitlock Farm — will expand the impact and scale of the Central Appalachian Food Corridor across four states: Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Through previous POWER funding, the Central Appalachian Food Corridor connected established and emerging farmers and value-added product entrepreneurs throughout the region to wholesale distribution markets, leading to increased agricultural business development and job creation.
The current project will expand the number of farmers served and food enterprises engaged, while building a collaborative business model that connects various parts of the food system in Central Appalachia. The goal is to attract private investment and position the collaborative for significant growth and financial sustainability.
The project will span 91 counties in four states and serve 349 businesses and 938 participants. It is expected to improve 238 businesses and 786 participants, create 38 new businesses and 85 jobs, and leverage $732,666 of private investment.
Thirty-three awards totaling $22.8 million were announced on Feb. 19 and are projected to create or retain nearly 1,000 jobs, benefit more than 3,300 students and workers and leverage more than $21.8 million in private investment into manufacturing, agriculture, technology, substance abuse recovery, broadband development and other industry sectors across coal-impacted communities in nine Appalachian states.