ASAP Connections

Local Food. Strong Farms. Healthy Communities

ASAP News and Information

The 2015 Local Food Guide is Here!

The growing season has arrived in WNC and the Southern Appalachians! Look for signs of spring with seasonal specialties found at tailgate farmers markets, featured at restaurants, and purchased at roadside stands. It is also the time of year to pick up the newest edition of ASAP’s Local Food Guide to help you find the best sources for Appalachian Grown™ food. In the guide, you can find nearly 700 local farms, 100 farmers tailgate markets, hundreds of restaurants, grocers and other outlets for food and farm products with an astounding variety of local products.

This year’s Local Food Guide offers new information, such as which Appalachian Grown tailgate farmers market can accept credit, debit and SNAP/EBT. The guide also includes a look at several multi-generation family farms, celebrating their stories and hearing about why generations continue farming in the Southern Appalachians. Other new features include designated Get Local restaurants committed to going above and beyond when sourcing local food, along with listings of grocers, artisan food producers, B&Bs and farm lodging, wineries, and more.

The latest guide listings can also be found at our online Local Food Guide. Print copies will be distributed to locations throughout the region, or you can stop by the office.

Cost Share & Promotional Support for Farmers

ASAP announces the launch of a farmer cost share program and the renewal of our popular wax produce box initiative, both designed to maximize economic opportunities for local farmers and identify “certified local food” in the marketplace in Western North Carolina. Both programs are part of our Appalachian Grown™ program, which helps farmers enhance the competitiveness of their products in local markets.

Cost share funds are made possible through support from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, and are available for farms in North Carolina to be used for design and production of custom labels, packaging, or promotional materials featuring the Appalachian Grown logo. Click here for more information about the cost share program. 

The Appalachian Grown wax produce box program allows ASAP to use the bulk buying power of over 700 farms to offer packaging materials at an affordable price for growers, helping them meet market requirements and enhance the visibility and marketability of their products. This program is supported by the Golden LEAF Foundation, the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, and The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. A new shipment of boxes will arrive in early April in time for the spring growing season. Click here for more information about wax boxes.

ASAP’s 12th Annual Business of Farming Conference

Thank you for everyone who participated in this year’s  Business of Farming Conference! Over 300 farmers, business and agricultural professionals, wholesale buyers, attorneys, exhibitors, and more came together for a day of learning and networking. We were delighted with the turnout and plan to expand even more in 2016 to give more beginning and experienced farmers the opportunity to network and acquire resources to grow their farm businesses!  Relive the experience by scanning the photo galley from this year’s conference. Our 2016 conference date and registration will be released this spring, so stay tuned.

ASAP offers opportunities for learning for farmers throughout the year. Keep an eye on our Workshops and Trainings page for an event near you! 

 

 

ASAP and RAFI-USA Partner and Launch Connect2Direct

ASAP and RAFI-USA (Rural Advancement Foundation International) have partnered on the project, Connect2Direct, a major new initiative to increase farmer direct sales and expand local food access. The goal for the collaboration is to support and build equitable community-based local food economies through the development of direct markets for farmers in North Carolina.

Connect2Direct aims to dramatically increase farm to consumer direct sales and the usage of EBT/SNAP at farmers markets in NC – by over 100% within two years – by providing training and technical assistance to markets and market vendors, creating effective marketing and outreach campaigns, facilitating the transactional process for EBT/SNAP, and building statewide capacity and efficiency to sustainably ensure that all North Carolinians have access to fresh foods grown by local farmers.

For upcoming Connect2Direct workshops and announcements, click here.

Click here for the full press release and more information about the project.

Follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Local Food Sales Surge in WNC

ASHEVILLE, NC (May 2, 2014) – Local food sales in Western North Carolina have grown significantly in the last five years. The 2012 Census of Agriculture, released on May 2, shows that direct sales alone have increased by nearly 70% in the region according to analysis by ASAP’s Local Food Research Center, from under $5 million in 2007 to over $8 million in 2012. The 2012 Census of Agriculture also shows that the region has reversed a disturbing trend in loss of farm acres, actually adding over 10,000 acres between 2007 and 2012 while the rest of North Carolina and the country lost farmland.

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