Appalachian Grown: Toward Regional Community-based Food Systems

Project Overview

LS03-146
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $154,030.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Charlie Jackson
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Additional Plants: trees
  • Animal Products: dairy, meat

Practices

  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, new business opportunities, urban/rural integration

    Abstract:

    This multi-year project focused on Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s (ASAP) Local Food Campaign. The goal of “Appalachian Grown: Toward Regional Community-Based Food Systems” has been to continue research and development of a “buy local food” campaign as a strategic component in establishing community-based food systems throughout the Southern Appalachian region. The project has facilitated an understanding of the existing regional food system and has established assessment and implementation “buy local food campaign” methodologies for sustainable community-based food systems.

    Project objectives:

    Project objectives are: 1. Assess the existing project area food system and identify barriers and opportunities regarding community-based food systems, 2. Assess local markets and consumer preferences in context of the ASAP “buy local food” campaign, 3. Evaluate ASAP’s “buy local food” campaign impacts, and 4. Inventory existing and emerging “buy local food” campaigns in Southern Appalachia and disseminate project and national initiative results.

    Project outcomes will directly serve the production and marketing interests of small family farmers and will establish approaches that will assist communities interested in linking local production capacity with local consumption demand. Research and education initiatives will assist community efforts regarding “buy local food” campaigns. Outcomes will describe economic impacts of the existing food system and the potential positive economic and security benefits of “buy local food” campaigns and community-based food systems.

    The twenty individual reports and one master report developed under the SARE-funded project cumulatively contribute a large body of knowledge on the food system of the Southern Appalachian region, particularly in the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The research establishes baselines for future comparison, identifies significant opportunities for developing the local foods production and distribution system, and identifies the chief barriers facing the local foods movement in the region.

    The research successfully describes the local foods market and the positive impact of the local food campaign led by ASAP during the grant-funded period, with conclusions that will help guide activities in expanding market opportunities for local farmers. Reports document a consumer-driven demand for greater access to locally grown food via most supply chain systems.

    Evaluation of ASAP’s local food campaign was largely achieved through evaluating the impact of ASAP’s Local Food Guide. Other activities, including advertising, media exposure, and a highly successful distribution of nearly 30,000 “Local Food!” bumper stickers have likely contributed to the growth of the market. A comparison of changes in consumer behavior from 2000 to 2004 implies that ASAP’s activities have been succeeding. ASAP’s major activities of the Local Food Campaign include public education and promotional work; farmer training and support; Growing Minds and farm-to-school efforts; development of the Appalachian Grown certified local labeling program; and publishing and distributing the Local Food Guide.

    Existing and emerging local food campaigns in the Southern Appalachians successfully was documented, as described in A Survey of Local Food Activities in the Southern Appalachian Region.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.