Eight Appalachian Communities are Winners of National “Local Foods, Local Places” Grant Competition
WHEELING, West Virginia, December 3, 2014—Eight Appalachian communities are among the 26 selected nationwide as winners of the federal Local Foods, Local Places grant competition, which will provide communities with technical assistance and implementation support to help them integrate local food systems into their economic development action plans. The winners, chosen from among more than 300 applicants, were announced at an event today by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Doug O'Brien, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Sustainable Communities Program Manager Ed Fendley, and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl on behalf of the White House Rural Council.
The interagency Local Foods, Local Places initiative was established in June to help create more livable places by promoting local foods. Partnering agencies include ARC, USDA, EPA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Delta Regional Authority, which together have invested more than $750,000 in the program to encourage creative economic development focused on the local food economy and downtown revitalization. Through the initiative, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with communities to develop comprehensive strategies for local food systems that will help boost economic opportunities for rural farmers and businesses; improve access to healthy, locally produced food; and revitalize rural downtowns, main street districts, and neighborhoods.
ARC funds will support implementation of the action plans developed by the Appalachian communities through the competition. "Appalachian communities recognize the role that food systems can play in downtown development and revitalization," Gohl said. "Local Foods, Local Places will provide the technical resources to take ideas and put them into a plan, and ARC is pleased to provide the funding that will support implementation of the plans developed by the eight Appalachian communities."
The winning communities are as follows: