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

Celebrate Your Local Farmers Market

Celebrate Your Local Farmers Market

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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

USDA Rep. Vince Paumier

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

Farm-to-School Fun in Southeast Ohio

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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

ACEnet Visits Columbus Kitchens

ACEnet Visits Columbus Kitchens

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ACEnet Visits Columbus Kitchens

It was a dreary winter day when ACEnet staff visited two shared-use kitchens located in Columbus, Ohio. A mere 70 miles separates Athens from Columbus, with recent highway improvements making the trip just over an hour one-way.

Beautiful murals and decorative pieces throughout the space give The Commissary a welcoming vibe

The Commissary is located northwest of downtown at 1400 Dublin Road and operates as a for-profit business, owned by Kate Djupe. A variety of services are offered at this location; mixed use kitchen space, a bay for food truck parking, ingredient storage and classes ranging from food business 101 to cooking a variety of cuisines.

The enclosed commercial kitchen is divided between a prep-area and baking area, both named after outside investors who were pivotal to launching Kate’s plan … Read More