Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative

About Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative

The Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative (ASFC) team connects and supports farmers, researchers, and processors who work with staple grain, bean, oil seed, and perennial nuts. Our mission is to advance regional staple seed crop food systems by developing networks in regional and local markets. Our work uses  a lens that considers the critical issues industrial food systems, climate change, food sovereignty, and marginalized agricultural communities, including those that include people of color and women in  the Appalachian region and across North America.

Michelle Ajamian

ASFC’s approach to regional staple food systems that promise economic sustainability and food security is to develop  strategies that facilitate peer-to-peer driven collaboration both within the Appalachian region and with other regions to support access to equipment, seed, funding, and other resources, and improved trade (distribution & marketing). We especially support social enterprises and farms that grow and process landrace, native, and those hybrids that are deemed important to regional food system development.

Background: In August 2019, Rural Action and Michelle Ajamian began discussing how we could support the ASFC, and in November, Michelle joined Rural Action as the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative Network Manager within Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture Program.  

Ajamian and her partner, Brandon, launched ASFC in 2009, and just a year later, Rural Action’s support as a fiscal sponsor for research grants led to the launch of Shagbark Seed & Mill, an organic social enterprise that partners with our region’s farmers, distribution networks, and copackers. If you would like to learn more about the ASFC or be part of this important body of work, contact Michelle at