The Local Foods, Local Places partnership is a yearly federal award to communities around the country to help integrate local food strategies into economic development efforts. The award was given to six Appalachian communities in 2016, including one in West Virginia.
The initiative started in 2014 as part of the White House Rural Council’s work to support communities that want to make local foods a stronger part of the local economy. There are now 60 Local Foods, Local Places partnerships across the country. More than a third are in Appalachia, including four in West Virginia.
The award includes a financial grant of up to 20,000 dollars and access to federal consultants.
The newest West Virginia community to receive the grant is Rainelle. The community plans on establishing a mentorship program for local farmers and producers, developing a community grocery story and converting vacant lots into agricultural production.
Previous awards have gone to West Virginia communities in Wheeling, Williamson and Huntington.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.