Search the site

The climate of Appalachia is changing – rapidly. ASD is taking a stand against the climate crisis to keep farmers farming. Together, we can live better, locally.

Climate Change in Appalachia

Climate change is impacting people, planet, and profit in Appalachia in a number of ways.


Today, unsustainable agriculture and forestry activities generate 24% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, second only to electricity production at 25%. By contrast, regenerative agriculture and forestry practices have tremendous potential to rapidly and effectively sequester carbon from the atmosphere to help mitigate climate change. Per hectare annually, for example, organic annual cropping with compost and rotation sequesters up to 6 metric tons (Mt) CO2, perennial crops sequester up to 26 Mt CO2, and agroforestry sequesters up to 41 Mt CO2!

ASD helps farmers implement climate adaptive and mitigative farming methods, to prepare for and combat the growing effects of climate change.

Sarah Barney, Among the Oaks Farm

“I don’t think I lost any plants in the flood. When I went back to look, everything was held intact better in the alley cropping system, especially around the trees and shrubs. The beds that had the herbaceous perennial herbs seemed like they held the mulch and topsoil together more than the annual beds [which were not planted in an alley]. That experience has inspired me to do even more alley cropping!”

– Sarah Barney, Among the Oaks farm in reference to a catastrophic flood in KY in 2020

To learn more about ASD’s regenerative agriculture work, check out our programs below!


A total of 38 million people – including 1 in 5 children – are food insecure in the U.S. In Appalachia, the rate is 14% (1.5% higher than the national average). Climate change will further affect food security, especially in impoverished communities, by disrupting food availability, decreasing access to affordable food, and making utilization more difficult.

ASD works with small-scale farmers and the Central Appalachian community to reduce food insecurity and promote equity by cultivating a resilient local food system.

Learning Landscapes Garden at the Boys and Girls Club of the Mountain Empire

Between 30%–50% of total global food production by mass is lost as waste. Since 2004, ASD has facilitated the donation of more than 6.4 million pounds of food. This includes 5 million pounds from the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program and 1.4 million pounds of produce seconds purchased from regional and local farmers.

Since 2012, ASD has also helped families grow more than 140,000 POUNDS of local food through home-based backyard and market gardens. Households buying local or growing their own food can help reduce greenhouse gas emission by 4-5%.

To learn more about ASD’s food security initiatives, check out our programs below!


Climate change can impact the agricultural economy, by increasing costs and reducing yields. Access to water for agriculture is expected to be reduced by 35% by 2040, with costs increasing nearly 5 times during that same time period. Livestock production is also expected to be reduced by 5-7% due to higher average temperatures.

ASD offers market driven programming that insulates Appalachian farmers from the economic impacts of climate change to help maintain a resilient local economy.

Adam Pendleton, Appalachian Harvest Farmer and Assistant Manager

Since opening in 2000, the Appalachian Harvest Food Hub has assisted farmers in selling more than $27 MILLION of local produce to wholesale retailers. Adam Pendelton, Appalachian Harvest farmer, recounts: 

“I didn’t want to move away, because I wanted to farm the same land my Papaw always had. ASD has given me and a lot of other farmers of all ages an opportunity to continue doing what we love and be able to make a living at it. I love being able to get out and talk to farmers and share stories about our passion. I’m very thankful for the opportunities that ASD has given me, from working here at the Food Hub to growing crops on a small wholesale scale. I believe that someday I’ll fulfill my dream of being a full time farmer and for that I am forever grateful!”

To learn more about ASD’s markets and on the job training, check out our programs below!

How can YOU Help?

Eager to take a stand with ASD against climate change? There are a number of ways you can help – click the links below to find out more! Together, we can live better, locally.

©2022 Appalachian Sustainable Development. All rights reserved.