Our Impact - Local Foods

Through our member organizations, CAN collectively provides training, technical assistance, and other support to over 1,000 family farmers and food producers annually.

From 2009 to 2013, value chain sales income to producers we track increased from $3.5 million annually to over $11.2 million annually.

These producers farmed over 7,700 acres of land in 2013. Many are certified organic, while over half are cultivated using chemical free or sustainable practices. 

Value chain producers are also a significant source of employment in the region. In 2013, value chain producers provided full-time jobs for over 486 year-round positions and over 169 seasonal positions.

CAN works with approximately 70 wholesale buyers each year, including restaurants, school systems, and grocery stores. CAN members and partners help these buyers locate, purchase, and market locally-grown products. In 2013, they purchased over $6.2 million from local farmers and food producers. 

CAN connects thousands of producers, food processors, buyers, entrepreneurs, and intermediary organizations to encourage learning and sharing across the region. 

CAN encourages investment in the region. In 2013, we worked with dozens of investors and funders, including the Appalachia Funders Network, national and community-based foundations, government agencies, and local banks and businesses, to help them support food systems and build the local economies of the region. Value chain investment in 2013 totalled around $2 million, over half of which was from sources within the value chain


Get Adobe Flash player

Creating Multiple Forms of Wealth

CAN believes that wealth is about more than just money; in all of our work, we aim to build systems that create and protect all of the assets that lead to healthy, wealthy communities, including skills and knowledge, trust and relationships, political influence, infrastructure, natural resources, and savings and financial investment.

We work with the Ford Foundation's Wealth Creation in Rural Communities Initiative to develop strategies for creating and protecting these assets, which we call the forms of community capital. For more information about the forms of capital, the Initiative, and CAN's work to create real wealth that sticks in rural areas across the region, please visit www.creatingruralwealth.org.

Wealth Creation Logo

CAN's Small Grants Program

CAN’s small grants program is designed to increase the capacity of our partner organizations across Central Appalachia to strengthen and connect local food and other value chains in their sub-regions, as well as to connect these partners across the region for mutual learning and support.

Rooted in AppalachiaCAN's Small Grants program is in its 6th year, having funded over 30 different organizations pursuing a variety of local food system and sustainable economic development projects. We've pulled together a summary of all of the grantee projects to date, and it truly is an impressive body of work being purused by some fantastic organizations and leaders. Click here to download a summary infographic

We are pleased to announce the 2016 cohort of CAN Small Grant recipients! These projects are at the cutting edge of the sectors of local food distribution, food & health, and energy efficiency. Through their commitment to peer learning and network-building, these community leaders and development practitioners are working to ensure that their individual efforts add up to accelerate Appalachia’s transition to a more diversified, just, and sustainable economy.


2015 Small Grant Recipients: We are pleased to announce this year's cohort of CAN Small Grants Program participants. While CAN is expanding to work in additional sectors beyond food, most of this year’s grantee projects continue to focus on leverage points in the region’s local food system. The recipients and projects are summarized below:


Past Grantees

Over the past five years, we've supported 30 non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and groups of entrepreneurs with 44 one-year grants of $3,000 to $20,000.

We've pulled together a summary report of all of the grantee projects from 2010 through 2013. Click here to read about some of the great work that CAN has supported over the years. Among other projects, these grants have:

2014 Small Grant Recipients:

CAN's 2013 grantees, representing 5 Appalachian states and a wide variety of value chain projects, were:

Learn more about our 2012 grantees here.

The 2015 Small Grants Program is supported by the Ford Foundation, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and the blue moon fund.