Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) celebrates its 25th year in 2020. ASD’s mission is to transition Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food.
Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio. ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity.
Since 2012, Grow Your Own participants have grown over 140,000 pounds of produce. ASD provides seasonally appropriate training, technical support, seeds, plants, tools and tilling services to program participants. Hands-on workshops teach basic nutrition, how to plan, plant, grow, cook and preserve home-grown produce. Market gardening families learn how to supplement their income through sales of their harvests. Home gardeners grow food for their households and share their bounty with neighbors and local food banks.
Chelsea Goulding, ASD’s Agriculture Education Program Manager explains, “We are expanding to give folks more ways to participate and help us grow the program. By doing so, they see how and where they can fit into the local food system. As we look forward, all of our food access programs will have a focus on ‘a lifetime of healthy eating’. We will meet folks where they are and provide them with effective tools for health, wellness and financial success.”