ACEnet & Athens in National Spotlight
U. S. Department of Agriculture officials from the agency’s national and statewide branches visited Athens County briefly Friday to explore the region’s local food system. Val Dolcini, Administrator for USDA Farm Services Agency, Elanor Starmer, Administrator for USDA Agricultural Market Service, Steve Maurer, State Executive Director of USDA Farm Services Agency, and Tony Logan, USDA Ohio Rural Development State Director began their tour in Nelsonville, at ACEnet’s Nelsonville Business Center & Food Hub.
After Nelsonville, the group continued to Athens to tour ACEnet’s Food Ventures Center. Our Director of Programs & Business Development, Leslie Schaller, and our Executive Director, Larry Fisher were on hand to walk them through our commercial, shared-use kitchen, warehouse storage space and thermal processing room.
The next stop was to tour Little Fish Brewing Company and sample their new beer, “No Fracking Way,” which was brewed with all Ohio ingredients, including Ohio-grown hops. While there, the USDA officials got to meet with a few of ACEnet’s clients and partners. Athens Mayor, Steve Patterson also stopped by to say hello!
The last stop on the tour was for dinner at locavore restaurant, Casa Nueva, which is a worker-owned restaurant dedicated to sourcing locally & seasonally, and also utilizes ACEnet’s commercial kitchen. The USDA group was able to meet and chat with more ACEnet partner organizations, including the Athens County Conventon & Visitor’s Bureau.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton visited Jackie O’s Brewery and Taproom on Campbell Street in Athens on Tuesday. Clinton’s stop in Athens was part of her new “Breaking Down Barriers” driving tour of Appalachia, that started in Kentucky Monday (May 2), through West Virginia and culminated in Athens Tuesday.
If she is elected president, the Democratic front-runner guaranteed there will be Jackie O’s beer served in the White House. “It may be Razz Wheat. It may be something else,” she joked. “Small businesses like Jackie O’s are what make this such a dynamic, entrepreneurial community and we need more of that,” she said. “Appalachia is a vital part of the United States … You deserve every chance to get ahead and stay ahead.” Clinton also highlighted the need for assisting workers and small businesses. She received loud cheers in promoting local business incubator ACEnet.
Community Update by ACEnet Programs & Communications Coordinator, Meggan Loveland