The Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative 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 country. Our goal is to develop climate-smart staple food systems, innovative approaches to food access, and farmer support systems 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!

The Staple Pulse Newsletter

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!

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

Neighbor Loaves (& Meals) delivers bread and meals purchased from local bakeries and restaurants directly to Southeast Ohio food access sites. The project backs our region’s organic staple crop farmers, assists local bakers and chefs in selling their products, and delivers their nutritious recipes to our region’s neighbors in need. All items in the project are made with at least 50% local grown staple grain, beans, and nuts, and distributed to food access programs by Community Foods Initiatives and the Athens County Food Pantry

In June 2023, a year-long grant from the Rocky Community Improvement Fund, made it possible to expand the project to guarantee monthly deliveries directly to Athens County Food Pantries.

In December 2023, the Ohio Association of Food Banks, the Southeast Ohio Foodbank, and Community Food Initiatives (CFI), started a pilot a project through June 2024, that delivers Neighbor Loaves and Meals to the SE Ohio Foodbank once a month. These products are added to their Emergency Food Boxes offered to participating pantries throughout their 11 county region. The Food Bank Pilot project is funded through the USDA Local Food Purchasing Assistance Program (LFPA).

Participating businesses and featured meals include Village Bakery‘s sliced Whole Grain Spelt Bread, Casa Nueva’s Vegetarian Chili, Shagbark Seed & Mill‘s cereals, beans, grits and chips, Alfonso’s Italian Kitchen & Bakery‘s Red Fife & Heirloom Corn Bread, and Kindred Market’s breakfast corn muffins. Community Foods Initiatives and the Athens County Food Pantry picks up and delivers items to food access sites, ensuring that these products reach every corner of the county.

Background

In June 2020, we launched the project with the goal of delivering nutritious bread and meals to support our region’s food pantries. Simultaneously, we aimed to impact the sales of local bakers, chefs, and organic staple crop farmers, addressing the market challenges posed by the early stages of COVID-19. Patrons of the participating bakeries and restaurants funded over $30,000 in purchases in the first two years.

You can help grow the program by purchasing from the participating businesses using the button below!

Purchase Here

Craft Miller’s Guild: Networking for Resiliency

Deep Roots Milling

Craft Miller’s Guild members from Deep Roots Milling

Established in late 2019 as a peer learning group involving nearly 50 regional mills from across the US, the Craft Miller’s Guild has been taking shape since late summer of 2023 with the active participation of nearly 30 mills. Serving as a vibrant community of practice, members engage in discussions covering various aspects of milling grain and nuts, producing items ranging from flour to grits, cereals, tortillas, and more.

Our primary objective is to support new mills in realizing their aspirations and aid seasoned mills in expanding. This involves the collaborative development of a comprehensive set of best practices encompassing crop storage and receiving, equipment, financing, and milling techniques.

In June 2021, several of our dedicated members contributed valuable comments to the USDA’s call for guidance aimed at strengthening resilient food supply chains. You can read one such impactful letter here.

Appalachian Regional Food Business Centers

We are thrilled that Rural Action is leading this multi-state project in our region! Funded by the USDA through 2028, The Appalachian Regional Food Business Center works with partners across several states to support a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system throughout all of Appalachia, and our project will be participating to identify and support farmers and food manufacturers in our region who are growing and/or processing grain, dry beans and nuts.

Route 9 Cooperative

ASFC’s work with the chestnut farmers from the Route 9 Cooperative and two local mills helped develop value-added products from Grade B chestnuts, including fine chestnut flour from 2021-2023.

The demand for culinary chestnuts surpasses the regional supply, and thanks to a grant from North Central SARE, we successfully created a fine flour. This accomplishment led to an enduring partnership with Stutzman Organic Farm and Mill for the continuous production of flour for Route 9. Despite Grade B chestnuts not providing an immediate return comparable to fresh chestnuts, their potential shines when transformed into a value-added product. Following our initial test milling at Shagbark Seed & Mill and Stutzman Organic Farm and Mill, we distributed fine and medium flour to bakers, chefs, and brewers within our region and beyond. We are delighted to welcome Blue Hill Farm at Stone Barns as one of the new customers for these innovative products! In