Appalachian Regional Commission
Washington, DC, January 29, 2016—The Obama administration has announced that Rainelle, WV is one of six Appalachian communities among the 27 national Local Foods, Local Places awardees for 2016. Through the federal Local Foods, Local Places Initiative, Rainelle, WV will receive technical support to identify successful strategies for integrating local food into their community development efforts and create economic opportunities for local farmers and food entrepreneurs, revitalize main streets, and increase access to healthy food.
“The Local Foods, Local Places Initiative provides tools for Appalachian communities to make local food more impactful for local economies,” said Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. “It’s exciting to see how community leaders leverage federal support to build stronger and healthier economies across Appalachia.”
Rainelle, WV was chosen from more than 300 applicants nationwide and plans to create new initiatives they may include a mentoring program for new farmers and producers, developing a community grocery store, forming a food alliance and putting vacant land into productive use. The plan also includes expansion and support for ongoing projects with the farmer’s market, community and school gardens, etc.
The Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation, in conjunction with numerous local partners, completed the application for this technical assistance grant for Rainelle and surrounding communities. GVEDC Peggy Crowder, Marketing/Financial Director states, “The GVEDC focus on Rainelle is to build a strong local food system within its community to increase access to healthy local food, promote childhood wellness and improve downtown/community revitalization. We are very excited to work with the team of experts to create an action plan to better equip Rainelle for a brighter future. These actions will ultimately boost economic growth in Rainelle and surrounding communities.”
With the 2016 awards, 60 communities nationwide are now participating in the Local Foods, Local Places Initiative. Twenty-two, or more than one-third, of these communities are in the Appalachian Region. ARC is providing direct support to these communities to help them implement their local food strategies as part of their economic development efforts.
Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership between ARC, the Delta Regional Authority, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Launched in 2014, Local Foods, Local Places is also part of the White House Rural Council’s Rural Impact work to improve quality of life and upward mobility for children and families in rural and tribal communities.
Previous Local Foods, Local Places communities in Appalachia include Corbin, Kentucky, which expanded its farmers markets and other small businesses; and Williamson, West Virginia, which integrated local food strategies into the town’s community health efforts.
Local food is a targeted investment sector in ARC’s 2016-2020 strategic plan. More information about ARC’s investment in local food development is available at www.arc.gov/localfood.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.