WV Local Food Corridor Project

In addition to the Value Chain Cluster Initiative (VC2), our parent organization Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) is also administering a pilot project called the WV Local Food Corridor Project. Here is a brief update on this project.

In October of 2015, several members of the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) aligned efforts to pursue development of a distribution route that would open market opportunities for Ohio, WV, and VA producers and enable distribution of value added products and produce between anchor organizations ACEnet (Athens Ohio) and ASD (Duffield VA). In 2015, a Local Food Promotion Program grant was awarded to NCIF with the goal of supporting these partners to “prototype” this distribution route. Other organizations involved in the grant include the Wild Ramp/Unlimited Future, Mid-Ohio Valley Edibles. Since grant implementation has begun, other partners have been engaged in different ways, including KISRA, WVFFC, Refresh Appalachia, and WVU Small Farm Center.

What’s the WV Local Food Corridor Project doing?

The WV Local Food Corridor Project aims to build a prototype distribution channel by building partner and stakeholder capacity around distribution and by linking together the right markets and products to build a viable prototype route. Here is an update on what project partners have been working on:

Partnered with the WVFFC Aggregation and Distribution working group to put on two site visits focused on building capacity around processing, aggregation, distribution at ACEnet and KISRA facilities. More info here.

Developed a product guide for regional value added products to help facilitate sales to wholesale markets associated with the Corridor route and bulk sales to smaller regional hubs.

Coordinating logistics and partnerships to move products along the prototype “Corridor” route, set to launch in late September 2016 when ASD and KISRA and possibly local distributors distribute squash destined for Appalachian Harvest food hub.

Supporting WV producers growing for ASD’s Appalachian Harvest food hub to prepare for GAP certification and to better understand the requirements of selling into wholesale markets. More here.

What’s next?

An additional site visit will be held in the Greenbrier Valley in fall 2016 to engage interested producers and hubs for regional market opportunities.

A WealthWorks training and forum will be held in October in Charleston to engage stakeholders and partners around ways to collectively gather and communicate information that illustrates local food and value chain impact.

The prototype route will “launch” in September. Products will be transported and the viability evaluated.

ASD received an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant to continue work to develop the Athens to Duffield “Corridor”, and build on the foundation on this LFPP WV Local Food Corridor project which will wrap up in December 2016.

How can I learn more about the Corridor project and get involved?

Interested in growing for a wholesale market like Appalachian Harvest Food hub? Know of value-added products that could be distributed at a regional scale? Interested in acquiring more regional value-added products for your hub or local grocery? Have another question? Get in touch with us and we’ll connect you. Contact maryoldham@vc2.org