Southwest Virginia Farmer and Food Hub to be Featured on CNN
ABINGDON, Va. – Scott County, Virginia, farmer Robin Robbins and Appalachian Harvest, one of the oldest food hubs in the nation, will be the subjects of an upcoming “Champions for Change” spotlight to air on “At This Hour with Kate Bolduan,” a news program produced by Cable News Network (CNN).
The program, set to air at 11 a.m. EST on June 14, will showcase Robbins, who is also general manager for Appalachian Harvest in Duffield, Virginia. The segment will also air on June 17 at 9 p.m. EST as part of an hour-long special of “Champions for Change” spotlights previously aired on the network.
CNN journalist Kate Bolduan chose to feature Robbins and her family farm after talking to Farm Aid, an organization known for its interest in strengthening family farm agriculture. The segment touches on the important work of food hubs, which help connect farmers in Central Appalachia with food retailers and brokers seeking to purchase healthy, farm-grown produce. Food hubs enable local farmers to participate in the commercialization of their produce by providing an infrastructure to deliver small-batch crops to retailers. This network not only benefits communities from an economic development perspective, but also reinforces the need for healthy produce for consumers.
“Farm Aid has long-supported the work of Appalachian Harvest and our parent organization, Appalachian Sustainable Development, and we were pleased when CNN’s production team contacted us about being featured on the show,” stated Robbins. “It’s an honor to be among institutions and people who are being recognized for bringing positive change to communities.”
In the “Champions for Change” feature, Robbins and her family host Bolduan on their farm located in Duffield. The segment provides insight into modern farm life in rural communities and the critical role food hubs can play to stabilize farm families and bring economic diversity to Central Appalachia.
Appalachian Harvest, considered a pioneer of the food hub model, was founded in 2000 by the nonprofit organization Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), which serves farmers in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and parts of West Virginia. ASD and Appalachian Harvest are dedicated to impacting economic development and addressing food insecurity in the region.
Since 2000, Appalachian Harvest has secured more than $13 million in produce sales for local farmers. The food hub currently works with 11 grocery store chains – representing 3,800 stores located from Maryland to Georgia – that seasonally purchase produce from 70 farmers in the region.
Appalachian Sustainable Development and its various programs have been repeatedly cited for their efforts to diversify local economies, strengthen the region’s food business sector and increase consumer access to healthy, local foods. Due to its experience in these areas, ASD was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to create a Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor. This initiative’s purpose is to establish stronger partnerships for boosting distribution of regionally grown produce.
The corridor, which includes five states and 43 counties, is expected to act as a regional economic driver, generating 120 jobs, retaining 250 jobs and ultimately creating 95 new businesses.
For more information about ASD or the Appalachian Harvest food hub, go to www.asdevelop.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people with healthy food.
Since 1995, ASD has served 15 counties in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. As the organization seeks out other regional partners in eastern West Virginia, Kentucky and Southeast Ohio, delivery routes for our food hub (Appalachian Harvest), which currently extend from Maryland to Georgia, are expected to broaden, creating important connections for increasing market access and bringing necessary resources to rural communities in our physical footprint. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD or the Appalachian Harvest food hub, go to www.asdevelop.org, Facebook or Twitter.
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