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Appalachian Center for Economic Networks

Appalachian Sustainable Development

Community Farm Alliance

Mountain Association for Community Economic Development

Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc.

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Events and Proceedings


The Local Meat Industry: Opportunities and Challenges in Central Appalachia
June 2012, Lewisburg, West Virginia

CAN partnered with the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Commission, the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, and Swift Level Farms to host a "Meat and Greet" that brought together a variety of stakeholders in our region's local meat industry. Producers, processors, regulators, local government officials, non-profit organizations, and community members came together to share their perspectives on local meat and meat processing in Central Appalachia. This gathering catalyzed two meat policy working groups; one, supported by CAN, addressed issues impacting local meat processing across the region, while another, organized by the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, is pursuing state-level changes to meat processing rules. To learn more about the gathering and the core issues impacting the local meat industry, click here.

Growing the Appalachian Food Economy: A Forum on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture
Sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. April 2012, Asheville, North Carolina

CAN served on the planning team for the Appalachian Regional Commission's recent local foods gathering, which brought together almost 350 participants from every Appalachian state. The purpose of this meeting was to learn, share, and explore ways to expand the role of food assets in local economic development in the region. More information about the event can be found on the ARC website. Download the proceedings paper here.


Cutting Edge Collaboration: A Workshop on Cross-Sector Strategies for Stronger Communities and Economies
January 2012, Charleston, West Virginia

On January 25th and 26th, 2012, CAN co-sponsored Cutting Edge Collaboration: A Workshop on Cross-Sector Strategies for Stronger Communities and Economies with the Sustainable Food Lab, the Appalachia Funders Network, and other local partners. This workshop, made possible through support from the Ford Foundation's Wealth Creation in Rural Communities Initiative, brought together more than 50 leaders from nonprofit, for-profit, government, and philanthropic communities to address how we can better partners with people who are different from us to create stronger communities and economies. Visit the workshop website to learn more. 

Local Food Value Chains: A Collaborative Conversation

August 2011, Maxwelton, West Virginia

On August 3, 2011, the Central Appalachian Network hosted a groundbreaking meeting. Almost 30 representatives of CAN member organizations, CAN partners, and grant-makers from the Appalachia Funders Network gathered in Maxwelton, West Virginia to engage in an open, honest dialogue about some of the most critical issues facing local food systems in Central Appalachia today. The goal of the meeting was to move beyond the conventional conversation between funders and grantees and begin a process of mutual learning and collective problem solving.

For more information about the Appalachia Funders Network, please visit www.appalachiafunders.org. Download the proceedings paper from this exciting conversation here.

Growing Healthy Food Systems from the Ground Up
March 2010, Nelsonville, Ohio

In Central Appalachia, across the country and around the world, interest in healthy food systems is growing. To take advantage of that interest, the Central Appalachian Network (CAN) hosted the “Growing Healthy Food Systems from the Ground Up” gathering in Nelsonville, Ohio on March 30th, followed by an optional day in the field on March 31st to explore production processes and facilities that assist farm-related businesses.

The day focused on moderated panels on various topics of interest to accelerate and expand local food systems. Panels shared and discussed best practices in markets, processing, aggregation, distribution and policy.  All panels were moderated by CAN members, and panelists included small business owners, CAN grantees, state department of agriculture representatives and a federal viewpoint from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Click here for the agenda and here for bios of the panelists.

The proceedings paper Growing Healthy Food Systems from the Ground Up 2010 is available for download here. Click here for the list of participants.


Growing Healthy Food Systems from the Ground Up
April 2009, Roanoke, West Virginia

In April 2009, CAN hosted Growing Healthy Food Systems from the Ground Up. The event gathered the key ingredients to promoting healthy food systems in our region including food producers, distributors, markets, educators, intermediaries, agencies, academics, philanthropists and many others. Attendees came from the Central Appalachian states of Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and beyond. At the meeting we set the table for growing healthy food systems by:

You can download the presentations here, the materials from the small group sessions here, and the full participants list here.

Click here for a full summary of the event and next steps.


Building Sustainable Economies in a Shrinking World
November 2007

In 2007, CAN hosted Building Sustainable Economies in a Shrinking World. You can download the presentation here and find more information about the event in these two publications:


Central Appalachian Roundtable: Policy Innovations for Sustainable Entrepreneurship
February 2005

In 2005, CAN hosted an Entrepreneurial Policy Roundtable. To learn more
about CAN's work with entrepreneurship, you can download Strategies for
Sustainable Entrepreneurship
, the publication from the event.