Gathering scheduled to support Southeast West Virginia’s growing ‘Foodshed’

Local farmers and farm groups of West Virginia’s southeast region will be hosting a “Foodshed” gathering at the Cecil H. Underwood Youth Center at the State Fairgrounds on Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register for this $10 event, visit http://wvfarmers.org/farm-gathering/.
A “Foodshed,” as described by Elizabeth Spellman, executive director of the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, is, “The workplace of local food. They are self-reliant, resilient regional food economies where food is produced, transported, and consumed. They include farmers, consumers, processors, institutions, restaurateurs, schools, and communities.”
Strengthening West Virginia’s Southeast “Foodshed” is exactly what organizers hope to achieve by hosting this gathering. They will be offering workshops at the event focused on hands-on farm skills and the business of farming. On top of attending workshops, participants will get the chance to network with fellow farmers. According to Jill Young, Monroe County farmer and local food enthusiast, “Every opportunity that we can support to have local producers gather together is a good thing. Just to meet face to face, share learning, and compare notes is part of growing a stronger regional foodshed.
“We are all proud, and fiercely independent farmers, and we want to keep it that way, but by being aware of what other producers are doing, it opens the opportunity for stronger collaboration on a regional level, which leads to more profit for the producers involved,” said Young
As the demand for local food continues to grow in West Virginia, events like the Southeast Regional Foodshed Gathering will become imperative to supporting the movement. According to Spellman, “As regional foodsheds take hold across the state, these pre-existing centers of relationships and resource-sharing can act as anchors for advancing more robust local food systems.”
To learn more about the Southeast Regional FoodshedGathering, or register for the event, visit http://wvfarmers.org/farm-gathering/. Registration will be at $10 until Oct. 11, and then $15 till Oct. 25. Registration at the door will be $25. Questions about the event should be directed to Adam Taylor, WVFMA project coordinator, at ataylor.wvfma@gmail.com or 276-971-6658.

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