Erin Hogan and Kyle Look of Squeaky Duck Farmstead aspire to open a cooperative farm store on their farm in New Marshfield, OH. Realizing that farmers sometimes need to stick together, they envision working with neighboring farms to sell a variety of fresh produce and value added goods.
In this venture, Erin & Kyle reached out to ACEnet and Rural Action for advice on their business model. ACEnet’s experience in business incubation and marketing assistance and Rural Action’s work in connecting farmers to training and resources are the perfect match to help Erin and Kyle move forward with their goal.
This week, a few ACEnet employees spent the morning at Hocking College helping Rural Action process corn for their Farm to School program. Rural Action’s Farm to School program involves purchasing produce from local farmers, like the many producers at the Chesterhill Produce Auction, then processing this produce with the help of Rural Action staff, local students and volunteers. This processed food is then distributed to school districts in the area for use in their cafeterias.
As our Food Partners Access Coordinator, Carrie Carson, expressed a need for a little extra help
processing recently, other employees at ACEnet decided to volunteer a few hours and contributed to the processing of 55 dozen bags of corn! There were also a few other new volunteers, so the process of shucking, washing, cutting and freezing … Read More
It was a hot day in West Virginia’s panhandle where more than 35 farmers, restaurateurs, grocery operators and food and beverage service providers gathered at the Poor House Farm Park in Martinsburg, WV for a Regional Buyer-Producer Mixer, an event made possible with support from the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF)’s local food program, the Value Chain Cluster Initiative (VC2), West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition (WVFFC), and Heart and Hand, Inc.
As part of a larger effort to support sustainable regional food supply chain development along the I-68, I-70 and 1-81 interstates, organizers had one goal in mind for this event: to build market connections between buyers … Read More
Alexandria’s Corner: 1
I just began my second week of service at ACEnet as their Summer AmeriCorps VISTA. As a recent graduate of Ohio University, I was incredibly excited to be given the opportunity to stay in Athens a little bit longer. My experiences through OU’s Photojournalism and Food Studies programs allowed me to become involved with so many wonderful people and organizations passionate about access to good, local food, so becoming a part of ACEnet and working with both the Nelsonville Farmers Market and promoting healthy food access seemed like a perfect fit.
During my first week here, I was introduced to ACEnet and its various facilities as well as given the opportunity to tag along with a small tour of an interested group looking to ACEnet as a model for building … Read More
The Healthy Food Access Promotion Program focuses on engaging in the work of community development organizations, farmer’s markets, local businesses and healthy food access programs throughout Southeast Ohio in order to address issues of poverty surrounding healthy and local food access in Appalachia Ohio
Alexandria, ACEnet’s summer AmeriCorps VISTA Associate is working with community partners and organizations to plan and implement marketing strategies to promote local food at the Nelsonville Farmers Market and other community events. She is also creating videos, infographics and other creative outlets, like photographs and storytelling will build the communications capacity of the healthy food access work in the area.
Follow along with Alexandria’s work in this blog series: Alexandria’s Corner!
Supporting Market Access, One Farmer at a Time
In late February, partners throughout Central Appalachia celebrated a project milestone of supporting market access, one farmer at a time, with generous support from the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) and the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) POWER Initiative.
This past December, Rhonda Dortch, owner of Bluestone Mountain Farm in Summers County, WV contacted Rosemary, ACEnet’s (The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks) Special Projects Coordinator, looking for delivery options to ship 5,000 pounds of heirloom shelled corn she’d grown and was selling to a new distillery in Davis, WV. “Working with partners across the state of WV, I thought this would be a prime opportunity to connect KISRA’s (Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action) new delivery service with a farmer in need – a win-win … Read More
In 2015, thanks to a Central Appalachian Network small grant, the Appalachian Ohio Kitchen Incubator Network was formed. This networks consists of ACEnet, Youngstown’s Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, Muskingum County’s FoodWorks Alliance and the Perry County Community Kitchen. The project’s purpose was to bring together four local shared-use kitchens to create a peer-learning community to share best practices and strengthen the network of food hubs in the region to increase distribution and affect local and state food policy.
As a follow-up to the 2015 Small Grant, in May 2016, representatives and business owners from ACEnet and the other three shared-use kitchen incubators traveled to the Museum Gallery of the Columbus Statehouse for a Showcase of Ohio Micro Food Businesses.
This legislative day in Columbus, done in collaboration with the SBDC based at Columbus State, brought together the … Read More
National Farmers Market Week runs from August 7th to August 13th, an excellent opportunity to celebrate your local farmers market!
This is an especially great time to get away from the typical grocery store, go outside in the sun where our food is grown, and connect with the growers and producers working hard to grow and make foods locally.
It’s refreshing to be reminded that purchases at a farmers market support economic growth in our region. When all of our food is organized onto lit, indoor shelves, it is easy to forget where our food came from, what went into making it, and who was responsible for growing it. Thank goodness for our farmers!
Eating local produce, baked goods, eggs, dairy and meats from the farmers market is an experience that everyone should … Read More
Real Food Real Local Continues to Connect in Year 5
The Real Food Real Local Conference is an annual event put on by the Real Food Real Local Institute, which is a partnership between ACEnet and the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event brings together innovators in local food economies, from entrepreneurs, funders and experts to nonprofits, advocates, and conscious consumers. This year, a wide variety of discussions occurred surrounding local food efforts, including distribution, marketing, policy, funding, and new models for operation.
Local food was plentiful throughout the conference, starting with the kickoff at the Eclipse Company Store. A delicious buffet of options donated from Avalanche, the Athens Farmers Market, Laurel Valley Creamery, Shagbark Seed & Mill, and Casa Nueva were available. Bakery items were … Read More
Farm-to-School Fun in Southeast Ohio
The South East Ohio Food Partners hosted a farm to school conference the first week of March at The Eclipse Company Store in The Plains. After a couple months of planning, the conference came together through a partnership with ACEnet, Rural Action, Community Food Initiatives (CFI) and Live Healthy Appalachia (LHA). The “Food Partners” as we like to call ourselves, aim to work together whenever possible. Funds for this conference were provided through a Rural Community Development Initiative grant. The two day conference hosted several tracks which demonstrated the overlapping work or infrastructure between the four organizations that encourages the growth and health of our communities and local food system in SE Ohio.
Here at ACEnet, we see ourselves as “network weavers”. At times, this may seem a little … Read More