FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/17/2023
Contact: Kathlyn Terry Baker
Chief Executive Officer
Duffield, VA, 05/17/2023 – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is pleased to announce the creation of four new staff positions that will exclusively work to serve small scale farmers and food producers in Central Appalachia, where smaller operations often face barriers to success. ASD worked with partners across Central Appalachia to secure funds to employ staff for five years and is now seeking individuals with the skills to fill the first two of these positions. ASD will hire a project manager to run this large scale project which connects agriculture partners across Central Appalachia and will also bring onboard; an innovative agriculture manager who brings expertise, training and technical assistance on the most current agricultural production practices and climate mitigation strategies. In the third quarter, ASD will hire individuals to provide support for building local markets for producers and someone to help implement additional processing at a new site. Collectively, this team will allow ASD to expand training, technical assistance, and financial resources to underserved small scale farmers.
Appalachian Sustainable Development has been serving farmers in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia since 1995. The development of its Appalachian Harvest food hub in 2000 created additional opportunities for farmers, by helping them reach lucrative retail and wholesale markets via ASD’s marketing, aggregation and distribution services. To date, ASD has sold and distributed more than $30 million dollars’ worth of produce on behalf of regional farmers. Unfortunately, sometimes smaller scale farmers and food producers, who make up a large percentage of the regional farm population, lack the capacity to participate in food production at the scale required by the food hub. With the need to build a farmer pipeline to address farmer attrition (the average age of farmers is currently 59 years old) and with the influx of young new farmers who are at small scales or just learning, ASD believes the growth capacity provided by these new roles and services will be transformative for the entire food system.
Kathlyn Terry Baker, ASD Chief Executive Officer explains, “There are so many people in our region that are farming on a small scale. They may sell at roadside stands, to restaurants, or at farmers markets. As the non-profit working in this space, it’s our job to figure out how to help those who are interested in expanding their operations, to help them find the resources, training, technical assistance, and market development support they need to meet their goals.”
In the coming months, Appalachian Sustainable Development will announce specific details about expanded resources and exciting additional opportunities along with how farmers can get involved.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Living Better. Locally. It’s what drives ASD’s commitment to build a thriving regional food and agriculture system that creates healthy communities, respects the planet, and cultivates profitable opportunities for Appalachians. Since 1995, ASD has been working in Central Appalachia, providing hope and making a difference for the people who call the region home. What began as opportunities for struggling tobacco farmers to grow fruits and vegetables have become lasting solutions to regional challenges that impact economic development, workforce development, food access, health, and wellness.
A leader in sustainable agriculture, economic and workforce development, and food access, ASD is developing a destination agriculture campus where innovation meets agriculture in Washington County, Virginia. To learn more about ASD, visit: https://asdevelop.org.