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Six Appalachian Communities Receive 2016 Federal Local Foods, Local Places Awards to Integrate Local Food Strategies into Main Street Revitalization and Public Health Efforts

January 2016

ARC Support to Help Awardees Implement Community Development Plans


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2016—The Obama administration has announced that six Appalachian communities are among the 27 national Local Foods, Local Places awardees for 2016. Through the federal Local Foods, Local Places Initiative, partnering communities will receive technical support to identify successful strategies for integrating local food into their community development efforts and create economic opportunities for local farmers and food entrepreneurs, revitalize main streets, and increase access to healthy food.

“The Local Foods, Local Places Initiative provides tools for Appalachian communities to make local food more impactful for local economies,” said Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. “It’s exciting to see how community leaders leverage federal support to build stronger and healthier economies across Appalachia.”

The 2016 Local Foods, Local Places awardees were chosen from more than 300 applicants nationwide. The winning Appalachian communities include:

  • Bessemer, Alabama, to start a downtown farmers market, convert vacant lots into community gardens, and encourage urban farming.
  • Winder, Georgia, to develop a pedestrian-accessible community kitchen and garden in the city’s community development center.
  • Middlesboro, Kentucky, to create pallet gardens, low-cost mobile food carts, a co-op grocery store, and other local food enterprises to employ low-income residents.
  • Connellsville, Pennsylvania, to expand its farmers market, develop a community kitchen, and establish a restaurant corridor.
  • Christiansburg, Virginia, to expand its farmers market.
  • Rainelle, West Virginia, to establish a mentoring program for local farmers and producers, develop a community grocery store, and put vacant lots into productive use.

With the 2016 awards, 61 communities nationwide are now participating in the Local Foods, Local Places Initiative. Twenty-two, or more than one-third, of these communities are in the Appalachian Region. ARC is providing direct support to these communities to help them implement their local food strategies as part of their economic development efforts.

Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership between ARC, the Delta Regional Authority, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Launched in 2014, Local Foods, Local Places is also part of the White House Rural Council’s Rural Impact work to improve quality of life and upward mobility for children and families in rural and tribal communities.

Previous Local Foods, Local Places communities in Appalachia include Corbin, Kentucky, which expanded its farmers markets and other small businesses; and Williamson, West Virginia, which integrated local food strategies into the town’s community health efforts.

Local food is a targeted investment sector in ARC’s 2016–2020 strategic plan. More information about ARC’s investment in local food development is available at

About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.