FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/07/2022
Contact: Sylvia Crum
Director of Communications and Development
Duffield, VA – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has launched the region’s first Farmer Pride Coalition to serve as a networking and education group to provide business and educational opportunities for farmers, growers, agroforesters, producers and others in the food system who identify as LGBTQ+.
ASD will begin this work with a focus group meeting in the fall and expects that feedback from participants will help shape the structure and ultimately the function of Farmer Pride. Individuals interested in participating are encouraged to fill out this interest form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfKzAtuL75Z8wn2X1clTCHUhx8OW7B1iQlJbembcF-VT292Wg/viewform.
In this role, ASD will develop, maintain and provide support for this coalition using it’s existing connections and by forging new partnerships in and beyond the Appalachian Highland region to provide specialized support and specific educational and financial opportunities.
“Farmer Pride is an opportunity to invest in our community and show our neighbors, our families, our children and our friends that Appalachia is a place where it’s safe to be proud of who you are. Up to 20% of America’s LBGTQ+ youth live in areas like ours. ASD’s Farmer Pride Coalition shows them that they have a future here as part of our food system and as members of our community,” Sylvia Crum, Director of Communications and Development said.
A key piece of ASD’s work is to provide services to marginalized populations in northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia and adjoining states. To that end, in 2021, ASD established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee composed of program and executive staff, volunteers and board members. As part of ASD’s strategic planning process, this committee ensures that ASD continues to be good stewards of the communities it serves. The mission of the DEI committee is to create an inclusive, healthy and thriving regional food and agriculture system by removing social and economic barriers to participation, respecting the planet through honoring diverse cultural traditions and cultivating profitable opportunities for Appalachians in vulnerable and marginalized communities regardless of race, gender, gender identify, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, home or first language, religion, national origin, age, physical appearance or geographic location.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Living Better. Locally. It’s what drives ASD’s commitment to propel its mission 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. Over the years, ASD has expanded its reach from northeast TN and southwest VA to include partners in WV, OH and KY, enabling the organization to bring resources back to the region. For more information, visit: https://asdevelop.org.