The Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative (ASFC) team is developing a robust regional model for staple food systems among grain, bean, nut, and oil seed growers, processors, and researchers here and across the US. Our goal is to develop climate-smart staple food systems and innovative approaches to food access and farmer support that are fueled by peer to peer learning circles.
Want to learn more about the importance ASFC or be part of this important body of work? Check out our projects below or contact us here!
North Central SARE Chestnut Partnership Grant
is partnering with four farmers from the Route 9 Cooperative and two local mills to develop value-added products including a fine chestnut flour made from Grade B chestnuts.
The demand for culinary chestnuts far exceeds the supply from our region and thanks to a recent grant from North Central SARE, we are researching and developing fine flour and other products from chestnuts grown at Route 9 Cooperative. While Grade B chestnuts don’t immediately offer the same return as fresh chestnuts, they hold promise if processed into a value-added product. After test milling at Shagbark Seed & Mill, Walnut Creek Seeds, and Stutzman Farms, we distributed fine and medium flour to bakers, chefs, and brewers from our region and beyond.
The ASFC team publishes a quarterly newsletter focused on the emergent environmental, cultural, and economic impacts of our food system, with an emphasis on staple crops. The Staple Pulse also features agricultural policy briefs, partner updates, recipes, suggested readings, events, and more!
Neighbor Loaves (& Meals): From Farm to Food Access
We launched Neighbor Loaves (& Meals) in June 2020 to deliver nutritious bread and meals, purchased at local bakeries and restaurants, directly to food access programs in Athens county. Participating businesses and meals include Village Bakery‘s sliced Whole Grain Spelt Bread, Casa Nueva’s Vegetarian Chili, Shagbark Seed & Mill‘s cereals, beans and chips, and Kindred Market’s breakfast corn muffins. All meals are made with at least 50% locally grown staple grain, beans, and nuts.
The project supports our region’s organic staple crop farmers, helps local bakers and chefs sell their products to their customers, and delivers nutritious meals to our neighbors through drops made by Community Foods Initiatives and the Athens County Food Pantry. More than $20,000 has been spent on local bakery and restaurant items to date and we’re always looking to expand the project!
Millers Peer Group: Networking for Resiliency
Launched in late 2019, nearly 50 regional mills from across the US have joined the Millers Peer Group, a community of practice (CoP), to connect about the many aspects of milling grain and nuts for everything from flour to grits, cereals, tortillas, and more. Our goal is to guide new mills to finance their dreams and seasoned mills to grow by developing a set of best practices for crop storage and receiving, equipment, financing, and milling techniques. We meet over Zoom bi-monthly, and host a listserv for our members.
In June 2021, several of our members sent comments to the USDA’s call for guidance towards building resilient food supply chains. Read one such letter here.
Resilient Supply Chains: A Staple Seed Processing Center
We work with Shagbark Seed & Mill through their USDA LFPP planning grant to assess the feasibility for a Staple Seed Crop Processing Center in Appalachia. We envision a model staple food hub/center that offers start ups that process staple seed crops shared infrastructure, back office services, shipping and receiving, and more. All businesses–from tofu to tempeh, feed to cooking oil, nut butters to malts–could share personnel, do cooperative buying and distribution. Stay tuned and reach out for more information!