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, contact michellea@ruralaction.org, or Read our newsletter, The Staple Pulse!

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Neighbor Loaves (& Meals): From Farm to Food Access

We launched Neighbor Loaves (& Meals) to deliver bread, and meals purchased at local bakeries and restaurants directly to food access programs in our county in June 2020 with the Village Bakery’s, sliced Whole Grain Spelt Bread. Among the other items available are The Athens Bread Company’s, sliced Sourdough Red Fife Bread, Casa Nueva’s Vegetarian Chili, and Kindred Market’s Black Bean Burger, all made with at least 50% local 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, to deliver the items directly to our neighbors who depend on supplemental food though drops made by Community Foods Initiatives and the Athens County Food Pantry.

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Millers Peer Learning Circle: Networking for Resiliency

Launched in late 2019, we convene a group of nearly 50 regional mills from across the US to learn from each other about all things necessary to offer everything from flour to grits, cereals, tortillas, and more made from locally grown crops suitable to each region. Our goal is 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 every month, and host a listserv for our members.

We believe that the center of the plate: Grains, Beans, and other crops that provide essential protein, carbohydrates and more are key to resilient food systems. In June 2021, several of our members sent comments to the USDA’s call for guidance towards building resilient food supply chains.

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.