ASAP Connections

Local Food. Strong Farms. Healthy Communities

ASAP’s Local Food Research Center


Gaining Ground Farm Landscape

ASAP’s Local Food Research Center (LFRC) examines the social, economic, and environmental impacts of localizing food systems. The center researches and tests our theory of food system change: localizing food systems strengthens local economies, boosts farm profitability, increases sustainable production practices, and improves individual and public health. This theory is grounded in ASAP’s conviction that when the distance between consumer and producer decreases, transparency in the food system increases and drives changes that increase public health, build local economies, and sustain family farms.


The organization’s impact over the last decade has focused on ensuring that farms can continue farming and that everyone has access to local food. Our approach has been to create supportive environments in which farms, businesses, and consumers can innovate and try new things. As a result of our work, Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian region lead the country in developing local food systems that build local economies, sustain farms, and ensure that everyone has access to the freshest and healthiest locally grown foods.

ASAP believes that research is the foundation of our work. Through the activities of the LFRC, consumers will come to understand the value of eating local food for themselves and the economy, farmers will change growing practices to reflect local demand, businesses will change or invest in more local capacity, new farmers will begin farming and increase production; community organizations and institutions will look to local food as a strategy to address food access, community health, and development issues; and more consumers will have more access to local food.

Initial support for the center is being provided by donors, as well as the USDA Southern SARE program and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

The LFRC conducts research in collaboration with other food systems scholars. Our current affiliated researchers are listed below.


Charlie JacksonExecutive Director
Allison PerrettResearcher/Administrator
Katie DescieuxProgram Coordinator

Affiliated Researchers:

Carlos Carpio, Ph.D.
Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, Clemson University

Tullaya Boonsaeng, Ph.D.
Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, Clemson University

Leah Mathews, Ph.D.
Department of Economics, UNC Asheville

Alice Ammerman, Dr.P.H.
Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, UNC Chapel Hill

Laura Lengnick, Ph.D.
Sustainable Agriculture & Environmental Studies, Warren Wilson College

Carol Kline, Ph.D.
Center for Sustainable Tourism, East Carolina University

Anthony Flaccavento
President of SCALE, Inc. (Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies)


Email us for more information about the LFRC.

Consulting Services

Want to start or expand a local food initiative in your community? ASAP can help!Find Out How ▶▶

Sign Up For Our Newsletters

From Here

Consulting from ASAP

Interested in expanding your local food work? ASAP can help!
Growing Minds Farm to School Program

Growing Minds

Visit to learn about ASAP's Farm to School program!