In June 2014 the folks at Grow Appalachia forwarded me some information about a grant opportunity to promote local foods. I thought the program seemed like a great fit for Knox County and I set to work organizing a group of people to work on the project including the Knox County Farmers’ Market board and began writing the short letter of interest. In July 2014 the City of Barbourville and over two dozen partner organizations applied for the “Local Foods, Local Places” program, a technical assistance program to promote local food systems development.
In the fall of 2014, the city of Barbourville, Kentucky, was selected as one of 26 communities nationwide and one of 8 in the Appalachian region to participate in the “Local Foods, Local Places” program. The city in partnership with over two dozen local community organizations submitted a letter of interest for the grant to partner with several federal agencies including the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Delta Regional Authority (DRA).
The Local Foods, Local Places program works to:
- Boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, and foster entrepreneurship.
- Improve access to healthy local food, particularly among disadvantaged groups with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Revitalize downtowns, main street districts, and traditional neighborhoods by supporting farmers markets, food hubs, community gardens, community kitchens, and other kinds of local food enterprises, and by providing people with affordable choices for accessing those amenities, such as walking, biking, or taking transit.
In the spring of 2015 the community began a series of conference calls with state and federal partners. The calls led up to a summer community workshop followed by another series of conference calls, planning, and technical assistance to implement action items related to local foods in the county. The program culminated in the publication of the Barbourville Local Foods, Local Foods Action Plan and the allocation of funds to support the work of the Knox County Farmers’ Market.
Barbourville Local Foods, Local Foods Action Plan: Strengthening the Local Food System: Actions and Strategies for Barbourville, KY
Poster Presentation: Growing Appalachia: Local Foods & Community Development in Knox County, Kentucky