ARC, EPA, and USDA Announce Four Winners of 2013 Appalachian Livable Communities Competition
CORBIN, Kentucky, December 10, 2013—The Appalachian communities of Anniston, Alabama; Corbin, Kentucky; Pikeville, Tennessee; and Aberdeen, Mississippi, have been selected by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to receive technical assistance and implementation support through the 2013 Appalachian Livable Communities program. Funded at $250,000, the program focuses on developing local food systems as a means of revitalizing traditional downtowns and promoting economic diversification. A team of small-town-development experts will work with each community to develop achievable plans for the local production, distribution, promotion, and consumption of healthy foods.
The competition is the second round of assistance provided through the ARC-EPA-USDA Appalachian Livable Communities partnership, which helps Appalachian small towns and rural communities improve their livability by promoting economic development while safeguarding the local landscape. The partnership is the result of the White House Rural Council's ongoing effort to support multi-agency partnerships that promote economic development and job creation in rural America through targeted and coordinated federal assistance.
"ARC is pleased to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in supporting this exciting program," said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. "The plans developed by the winners we are announcing today will support reinvigoration of downtowns and traditional neighborhoods in a variety of ways, including locating farmers markets or food hubs in 'Main Street' areas. They represent the kind of creative approaches to developing local food systems while protecting the environment that will benefit our Appalachian communities for many years to come."
"It's exciting that so many Appalachian communities have a renewed interest in revitalizing their downtowns by promoting local food systems," said EPA Agriculture Adviser to the Administrator Sarah Bittleman. "Focusing development in downtowns and existing neighborhoods is good for the natural environment and human health because it helps preserve rural lands and makes it easier for people to walk, bicycle, or drive shorter distances to their destinations."
"There is a growing momentum for the idea of integrating local food systems into rural economic revitalization efforts," said USDA Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien. "Local foods are a critical component of creating stronger, healthier communities. These projects, along with the Livable Communities partnership between EPA, USDA, and ARC, show how innovation and cooperation are absolutely essential to successful community development."
The four selected communities drew on the assistance of their local development districts or a local university or community college to prepare their Appalachian Livable Communities applications. The winning projects are described below: