In This Issue
Support WV Food & Farm Coalition
Webinar: Food Hub Viability
March 20: Meat Facilities Opportunities
March 21: Farm Opportunities Day
March 21: Food Health Hope Ohio Valley
March 25: Huntington Local Food Expo
March 25: Food For Profit Workshop Fairlea
March 26: Food For Profit Workshop Berkeley Springs
April 12-18 WV Physical Activity Network Launch
April 30 WVHUB Annual Meeting
March 7 TEDxManhattan Online
June 4-6 Try This Conference
JOB OPENING: WVFMA Executive Director
For sale: Jeff's Breads, Renick
Deadline March 17: Community Food Program Grant
Deadline March 20: WVFMA Gleaning Project
Deadline April 30: Patagonia Environmental Grants
Deadline June 4: Climate Challenge
WV FSA Loans
Study: Grasshopper's Distribution Food Hub Failure
Study: WV Food Hub Feasibility Assessment

The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is a statewide network of people involved in building West Virginia's food and farm sectors. Our interconnected goals are to improve access to healthy, locally-produced food for all West Virginians while helping viable food and farm businesses to grow.  The Coalition was launched in 2010 by the West Virginia Community Development Hub, but is on its way to becoming an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to food and agriculture issues. 


We believe that as West Virginia farmers and food producers become more directly connected to West Virginia consumers, the results include healthier people, greater business opportunities, stronger communities, and a unique economy reflecting our state's proud heritage of self-sufficient food production.


Read more on our website.  



West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition greatly appreciates the support of our funders, The Appalachian Regional Commission,The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, BB&T, Central Appalachian Network, Change the Future WV, One Foundation, US Department of Agriculture, US Economic Development Administration, and the WV Department of Agriculture.  This support enables WVFFC to continue to fulfill our mission.

WVFFC Staff & Board 
Elizabeth SpellmanExecutive Director
Megan SmithProgram Coordinator
Garnet BruellAmeriCorps OSMRE/VISTA
Cheryl BrownPresident
Mike KwasniewskiVice President
Rob HintonTreasurer
Kent SpellmanSecretary
Brooke Nissim-Sabat 
Mike Costello 
Marlo Long
Hannah Vargason
Joey Aloi

This newsletter provides a biweekly selection of news, events, resources, and ideas that are helpful to farms and food access projects in West Virginia.  Whether you are a producer, consumer, nonprofit organization, educator, agency or food-related business, there may be something here to help you with your work. The information in this newsletter is compiled by the  West Virginia Food & Farm CoalitionIn addition to this newsletter, we also offer updates on specific food and farm topics. To subscribe to special updates, go here and enter your email address.


WVFFC is proud to provide support for food and agriculture efforts around West Virginia by convening Food and Farm Working Groups, creating resources, growing the local foods network, organizing trainings and events, offering mini-grants, and providing strategic policy support to stakeholders. Our budget relies on raising funds in order to keep our work accessible to all. Will you support us today? 


WVFFC launches and new email addresses. 

After months of development, the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is now announcing its new website, is open to the public. The website is designed with sharing resources and telling West Virginia's local food story in mind. Please send any feedback to Please note that all email addresses have changed as well - find contact information at
Road Map for the Food Economy Snow-Day Webinar

The webinar took the place of the 2015 Road Map for the Food Economy Conference & accompanying Local Foods Day at the Legislature which were cancelled due to an unfortunate bout of severe winter weather. During the webinar, speakers engaged in rousing discussions covering many aspects of West Virginia's food system, taking time to note how both continued policy engagement and regional development in ones own "foodshed" were key components in a strategy for growing the local food economy in West Virginia. Find our wrap-up of the webinar and accompanying recording here

WVFFC Workshops at Small Farm Conference
WVFFC was in attendance at a variety of workshops at the 2015 Small Farm Conference in Charleston, WV. These workshops included a Food Hub Track, a WV Food Policy Workshop, and a workshop about the WVFFC-funded Mobile Markets in Wheeling & Williamson. We will be putting up reports and summaries these workshops at over the next week. 

West Virginia Food News

Alderson Raising Money for Food Hub Expansion After Grocery Store Closes 
In November 2014, Alderson's IGA closed, removing the only local source of fresh produce for a community of approximately 1500 people. The nearest grocery store is now in Fairlea, 15 miles away through winding roads. To meet the demands of the community, The Alderson Community Food Hub is trying to expand into a full grocery store, offering local and wholesale goods. To do this, they are undertaking an online funding campaign. Read more here, and find the funding campaign here
Governor Tomblin Signs Deer Farming Bill
Senate Bill 237 will create the Captive Cervid Farming Act. Better known as the "deer farming bill," the measure had been debated in the Legislature for the past seven legislative sessions. The measure puts deer farm regulations under the scope of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, removing it from the Division of Natural Resources. Lawmakers had voted the bill to be effective from its passage. Read more here
Winter Blues Market Wrap-Up
With over 40 vendors, the 2015 Winter Blues Farmers Market in Charleston coincided with the 11th-annual Small Farm Conference. See the story here and our own photojournal of the event here
Registration Open for Huntington Local Foods Expo
The event will provide regional food growers, producers and processors with an opportunity to connect with buyers from restaurants, grocery stores, schools, institutions and other food venues. Not intended for individual consumers, the event is intended to help foster long-term sales relationships between these buyers and farmers. Read more here.
WVU Campus in Beckley May Include Agriculture Program
According to WVU Provost Joyce McConnell, agriculture and culinary arts programs are options for the future WVU Campus in Beckley, at the site formerly housing Mountain State University. "As WVU considers going down this road, moving into Beckley, we are committed to working with the other area institutions to join together to make the best opportunities possible," McConnell said. "We're trying to think through what will work for southern West Virginia." Read the whole article here
Stardust Cafe Celebrates 10 Years of Business in Lewisburg
Stardust Cafe has made a point of featuring locally sourced items over the course of its existence -- and was one of the first restaurants in West Virginia to do so. This article details the thought behind that process. Read it here

National Food News
Americans Spend Less On Food Than They Did A Generation Ago 
A USDA study shows that American's spending on food, proportional to our income - has actually declined dramatically since 1960. The data shows the average share of per capita income spent on food declined from 17.5 percent in 1960 to 9.6 percent in 2007. (It has since risen slightly, reaching 9.9 percent in 2013.) See the chart and read the story here
Momentum Growing For US Veteran to Farmer Programs
The 2014 Farm Bill designated veterans, for the first time, as a distinct class of beginning farmers within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The status grants veterans access to low-interest-rate loans to buy animals and equipment. It also allows them to apply for grants to build onto their farm, and it can help them receive extra payments to implement conservation practices on their land. Read about this and some of the organizations and people involved in Veterans to Ag here
This World War 1 era flyer was made in 1917.
Upcoming Events in and near West Virginia
Do you have events that you want included in our newsletter?
 Please contact us ! 

Webinar: Break-even and viability for different food hub models 

Free, Online, March 19, 3:30pm EST


How much volume does it take for a food hub to be a viable business? Food hub managers, planning commissions, funders, support organizations, economic development commissions and investors are all asking this same question!  Of course this is difficult to answer with a single number since there are diverse food hub models and management structures. And context matters: the region of the country, urban vs. rural, and others. 
This webinar peers in the operations and financial books of several illustrative examples of different hypothetical hubs to tease apart those "magic numbers" - where each model reaches profitability, and true viability. Registration is here

Meat Your Profit Potential: A first hand look at new opportunities for the meat sector

March 20, Summersville Arena, 10am-3pm


VC2 and partners the WV Food and Farm Coalition Meat Facilities Working Group andNatural Capital Investment Fund have developed a training for West Virginia's niche meat businesses. Join us along with T&E Meats, Alleghany Meats, The Wild Ramp, WV Department of Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture, WVU Davis School and Small Business Development Center. Find agenda and RSVP information here

Farm Opportunities Day 

March 21, Glenville State College 


Farm producers, new farmers and youths are encouraged to attend a one-day training to help highlight commercial farm opportunities for West Virginians to make the most of their farm resources. Farm Opportunities Day pairs industry experts with local farmers to address the region-specific needs of the industry. Registration is free to FFA & 4-H members or between $10 and $20 depending on registration time. Registration and more information here.

Growing Food, Health and Hope: Upper Ohio Valley 

March 21, 137 Mount St Joseph Road, Wheeling, WV

9:30am - 4:00pm


This is a day for networking and learning about the current "crises and opportunities" regarding access to healthy food in the Uper Ohio Valley. Learn about food insecurity and pathways to greater security from groups like Grow Ohio Valley, churches, schools, neighborhood gardeners, social servie agencies and others. RSVP by calling 304-232-8160 x 112 or email This event is free. 

Huntington Local Food Expo 

March 25, WV State Fairgrounds, Fairlea


Local food growers and buyers will convene for the 2nd Huntington Local Food Expo on March 25th from 1:30-5:00 pm. Don't worry if you can't make the expo! You can still register for the directory of farmers and food businesses using local foods. Attendees are also invited to join the March 24th "Ready for Market Huntington" training. Registration is available here

Food For Profit Workshop

March 25, WV State Fairgrounds, Fairlea


The Food for Profit workshop is for those who want to know how to start and successfully run a food business in West Virginia. Anyone who is a potential food business owner (home-based business or small-scale business) is welcome. Registration must be mailed by March 10th and is available here

Food For Profit Workshop

March 26, Panorama at The Peak, Berkeley Springs


The Food for Profit workshop is for those who want to know how to start and successfully run a food business in West Virginia. Anyone who is a potential food business owner (home-based business or small-scale business) is welcome. Registration must be mailed by March 10th and is available here

WV Physical Activity Network Launch

April 12-18, 2015


A new initiative of the WV Community Development Hub, The WV Physical Activity Network is dedicated to pulling together all of the people and organizations who are already doing healthy activity work. Activities for the launch: 1) Get active. 2) Take a physical activity selfie (or healthy selfie) and 3) Tag it #ActiveWV on a social media site. Stay up to date at 

WV Community Development Hub "Hubapalooza"

April 30, 2015, 10am-3:30pm, Summersville Conference Center


Hubapalooza will feature presentations, discussions and resources focused on:

* Great things happening in other communities across the state

* Sharing lessons learned and creating lasting networks for collaboration

* The role of policy in enhancing our community improvement work

Communications techniques to boost your project or initiative 

* West Virginia's economic, social and human health - what opportunities and threats are on the horizon?

Registration is available here

TEDxManhattan: Changing The Way We Eat

Online, Free, March 7, 2015


Aimed at consumers, this free webcast of the TEDxManhattan event will seek to raise awareness about opportunities for supporting a more sustainable and just food system. Find the webcast and previously years TEDxManhattan events here

Try This! Conference

June 4-6, Buckhannon, WV Wesleyan


A conference for those working for a healthier West Virginia. Forty workshops focusing on a variety of topics including farmers markets, school gardens, bicycling and running programs, school-based health centers and parks. Registration is $100. Late fees apply after April 15th. Register here
Job Opportunities

West Virginia Farmers Market Association Executive Director 

Charleston, WV


The West Virginia Farmers Market Association (WVFMA), in conjunction with the WV Community Development Hub, is seeking applicants for the position of Executive Director.  The Executive Director will support the West Virginia Farmers Market Association in its work to assist and promote successful development of farmers markets across West Virginia.  The Executive Director will work with the WVFMA Board, supervise the staff and contractors and collaborate with a wide variety of partners, funders and stakeholders in order to further these goals. For the full application information, click here

Appalachian Foodshed Project Post-Doctoral Scholar

North Carolina State University


The Appalachian Foodshed Project (AFP) at North Carolina State University is seeking to hire one post-doctoral scholar with a strong interest in examining the challenges of food security from a systems level perspective, using a community participatory action research methodology. Specifically, the objectives of this post-doc position are to analyze community food security assessments (CFSA's) in counties of western NC (WNC) and publish results for both academic and community audiences. The post-doc scholar will also provide an important liaison of communication between community members, the North Carolina AFP team and a larger three state multidisciplinary AFP leadership team of students and faculty researchers at NC State University, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University. For the past 4 years, these groups have collaborated as part of the Appalachian Foodshed Project (, funded through the USDA's Agriculture, Food and Research Initiative (AFRI). The AFP aims to work creatively with community partners and university researchers to address community food security issues in West Virginia and the Appalachian regions of North Carolina, and Virginia. For the full application and information, click here

(grants, awards, partnership ideas)

* Find a full grants calendar here, on our website!

To use this calendar, scroll ahead to see what grant deadlines are coming up.  Also look back to see what grants came out last year, so you can anticipate the same grants coming out in the year ahead. 

Business Sale: Jeff's Breads, Renick WV


Interested food-business entrepreneurs have an opportunity to purchase Jeff's Breads, an established 20+ year artisan bakery/food manufacturer. Totally income producing package: Bakery, brand, 2 unit apartment building, equipment, acreage. Located in Renick/Lewisburg area. Contact: AlindaPerrine, Country Road Realty,LLC Elizabeth Wickline, Broker 

USDA Community Food Program Grants
Due date: March 17, 2015


The primary goals of the CFPCGP are to: Meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service; Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities; Promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs including needs relating to: Equipment necessary for the efficient operation of a project; Planning for long-term solutions; or The creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers. More information here.

West Virginia Farmers Market Association Gleaning Project
Deadline: March 20, 2015


This program will explore and encourage best practices for connecting WV markets to the emergency food system that serves the food insecure in your community. Funding is provided through a grant from the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program. 


Through a competitive application process, 3 West Virginia farmers markets will be selected to participate in the Farmers Market Gleaning Project during the 2015 market season. Participating markets will receive up to $3,000 in funding to set up "gleaning programs" at their market, connecting farmers market products to entities like food pantries and soup kitchens, either through food sales, donations or other mechanisms. This money can be used for expenses directly related to the project, such as money for market manager time, marketing dollars for promotional events related to the project or mileage for transportation of gleaned produce.


Markets will be required to collect data on a weekly basis, reporting monthly to the project managers. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, the markets will report back to the project managers regarding the lessons learned through their pilot projects. In early 2016, a toolkit will be developed based on this project, which can be used by other markets interested in setting up gleaning project. 


For the application and full information, click here

Patagonia Environmental Grants
Deadline: April 30th, 2015


Patagonia funds only environmental work. We are most interested in making grants to organizations that identify and work on the root causes of problems and that approach issues with a commitment to long-term change. Because we believe that the most direct path to real change is through building grassroots momentum, our funding focuses on organizations that create a strong base of citizen support. For eligibility and application information click here. 

Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change Challenge Area
Deadline: June 4th, 2015


This AFRI Challenge Area focuses on the priority to mitigate and adapt to climate variability and change. It supports activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems, and prepare the nation's agriculture and forests to adapt to variable climates. The long-term outcome for this program is to reduce the use of energy, nitrogen fertilizer, and water by ten percent and increase carbon sequestration by fifteen percent through resilient agriculture and forest production systems. In order to achieve this outcome, this program will support multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants applications that address one of the Program Area Priorities. Application and information here

WV Farm Service Agency Loans



Update, November 24: The FSA borrowing limit for microloans has increased from $35,000 to $50,000. Read more here.  

The WV Farm Service Agency (FSA) has received increased funding to assist WV producers in purchasing farms, expanding their operations and making permanent improvements such as construction of farm related buildings. Eligible applicants can borrow up to $300,000; to be Eligible applicants must have participated in the day to day management of a farm for at least 3 years.  The interest rate for a Farm Ownership loans is fixed with terms up to 40 years.  The current interest rate for August is 3.75%.  Lower interest rates are available if financing is combined with a commercial lender.  If interested, please contact your local FSA office for more information.
Food for Thought
(Research, Publications, interesting articles, etc)

Study: Grasshopper's Distribution: Lessons Learned & Lasting Legacy 


Grasshoppers Distribution LLC was a food hub in Louisville, Kentucky, that was established in 2006 by four Kentucky farmers seeking to connect regional products with local markets, which grew to nearly one million dollars in annual sales of local farm products before closing its doors in December of 2013. 


This report examines the story behind the evolution of Grasshoppers and points to key challenges the enterprise faced as well as its lasting impact on the Kentucky agriculture and food sector. Read the report here

This report was also the subject of a webinar, which you can find recorded here

Study: West Virginia Food Hub Feasibility Assessment


This assessment, completed by Downstream Strategies for the New Appalachian Farm & Research Center, leveraged existing studies and data, implemented a producer survey, and performed an analysis to understand the enabling factors and barriers to developing a food hub in West Virginia. Information characterizing production potential job barriers limiting growth of local and regional aggregation initiatives in the state of West Virginia. To adequately secure funding and create a functional food hub, individuals and organizations need to better understand current production in the state, and the role and feasibility of food hubs in helping local producers meet market demand. 

This study provides a snapshot of the state's current and potential local fruit and vegetable production, gives an in-depth look at the top three regions in the state based on survey data for fruit and vegetable production, and provides a food hub feasibility analysis based on the findings.


Find the whole report here

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