Emily Rice Published

Appalachian Partnership Awarded USDA Grant

An assortment of fresh vegetables are laid out before being prepared for a meal.Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Rural Development West Virginia State Director, Ryan Thorn announced a partnership with ReInvestment Fund to award Appalachian FoodWorks Partnership a $1.6 million grant.

“Access to affordable, fresh, and healthy food is something that every West Virginian should have, no matter where they live,” said Thorn. “President Biden and Rural Development are committed to supporting local and regional food systems so people won’t need to travel far from home to find fresh, healthy food. The Appalachian FoodWorks Partnership will be an invaluable resource to help bring health options to our most underserved communities.”

The Appalachian FoodWorks Partnership combines state government (West Virginia Department of Agriculture), West Virginia University (Center for Resilient Communities and Family Nutrition Program), community-based lenders (Partner Community Capital), and the nonprofit sector (West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition).

The partnership aims to enhance food access, supply chain resilience and economic development by deploying grants, loans and technical support.

“This will project work with the West Virginia Rural Grocer Network, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, Partner Community Capital and the WVU Center for Resilient Communities to provide personalized support and technical assistance, coupled with grants and low-interest loans to locally-owned grocery stores and mid-tier value chain businesses,” said Spencer Moss, executive director of the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. “It’s through these activities that the project will help business not just be sustainable but thrive as they provide essential services to the community.”

Appalachian FoodWorks is one of 16 nationwide public-private partnerships the Reinvestment Fund chose to receive this American Rescue Plan funding.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Marshall Health.