As the newest member of ACEnet’s staff, I have a lot to learn. Before I began working for ACEnet, I was vaguely aware that they do something with food. I had come to know and expect the delicious smells wafting over the building from my years at working for ReUse Industries next door. Now, I can put those smells to names like Milo’s Whole World Gourmet, Casa Nueva, or Kaiser’s. In fact, I have learned that there are several small food manufacturers working out of the Athens Food Ventures Center shared use kitchen. And this makes sense because ACEnet’s mission is “to grow the regional economy by supporting entrepreneurs and strengthening economic sectors.” This is the type of thing you might see Pork and Pickles do in the kitchen on … Read More
Visit from Japan Society and Japan NPO Center
ACEnet recently received a visit from theJapan Society and the Japan NPO Center. The visitors,
many of whom traveled a great distance to Southeast Ohio, got a glimpse of ACEnet and our
community during their short stay in the area. One visitor, an alumnus of Ohio University, was
especially excited to be back in Athens.
Before getting an overview of what ACEnet is, the members of both organizations explained what
other organizations or areas of work they were a part of and what they wanted to learn from ACEnet.
One individual who attended is the director of Taberu Journal, a magazine that has expanded across
Japan and focuses on connecting consumers to producers. Many of the articles feature farmers and
the passion and process behind what they are growing. A brief … Read More
Herbal Sage Tea Company is one of ACEnet’s many clients that we have been working with for about 15 years. Maureen Burns-Hooker, also known as the Tea Lady, owner of Herbal Sage, began the business in 1996 on the principles of creating beneficial tea blends using the highest quality ingredients.
As Maureen is CHES certified, which is a Clinical Health Education Specialist, and an experienced herbalist. She is strategic about making sure the tea blends both taste wonderful and have some health-improving quality. As I learned during a recent meeting with Maureen, loose leaf tea retains far more essential oils from the plant as well as stronger health benefits due to the herbs being minimally cut, in comparison to normal bagged tea.
Though Herbal Sage has always created its products with organic … Read More
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.
Blog post by Alexandria Polanosky, ACEnet Multimedia Designer
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
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 a similar … 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 her blog series!
Blog written by Alexandria Polanosky, ACEnet Multimedia Designer
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