Eight Appalachian Communities are Winners in a Local Foods, Local Places Grant Competition.
Twenty-six communities were chosen from over 300 applicants in the Local Foods, Local Places grant competition designed to encourage creative economic development. Six federal agencies have invested over $750,000 to help revitalize struggling downtowns and preserve farms and undeveloped land.
Those agencies include:
- Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC),
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT),
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
- Delta Regional Authority (DRA)
Wheeling is among the chosen communities and will receive planning and financial support from the federal agencies. Grow Ohio Valley together with the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation and the group Reinvent Wheeling teamed together in their application which describes a project to install an urban apple orchard and several organic teaching gardens on the hills overlooking downtown Wheeling. Grow OV’s Ken Peralta says there’s a lot of excitement over the infusion of help implementing their plans.
Other Appalachian communities awarded:
• Wheeling, WV was selected for its plan to develop historic Vineyard Hill into a productive public asset, along with wider plans to transform Wheeling into a regional hub for local food.
• Youngstown, OH was selected for its interest in integrating its local food movement into the larger neighborhood revitalization efforts currently underway in the city.
• Williamson, WV was selected for its project to establish a Health Innovation Hub, a holistic strategy to build a culture of health from the bottom up.
• Hazard, KY was selected for a project to establish and sustain The Eastern Kentucky Food and Farm Hub, a local food aggregation and distribution center located in downtown Hazard that will serve the area within a 50-mile radius.
• Barbourville, KY was selected for its project to expand its current farmers’ market operation into a permanent facility for local farmers, gardeners, crafters, entrepreneurs, and consumers to interact and for local community organizations to use as a meeting area.
• Forest County, PA was selected for its interest in connecting its downtown revitalization efforts in Tionesta and Marienville with its rich agricultural heritage.
• Grundy County (Tracy City), TN was selected for its interest in developing a comprehensive, cohesive regional plan of economic stability that connects organizations and stakeholders involved in the region’s local food economy.
• Tuskegee, AL was selected for its project to pursue a synergistic plan of economic development and food security goals through downtown revitalization and regional marketing initiatives.