After more than two decades serving farmers and the local food community, ASAP’s longtime executive director Charlie Jackson will retire at the end of April 2022. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Molly Nicholie will become executive director of ASAP, and Charlie will shift to a strategic advisor role, working part-time to assist in the transition and planning. Read the press release.
In the age-old fairy tale, turning into a pumpkin at midnight is frowned upon. This year at Thanksgiving, however, when you turn the centerpiece of your meal into a magically stuffed Cinderella pumpkin, you can be sure that your holiday guests will wonder which fairy godmother swooped in to prepare it. READ MORE
October 2021: The Local Food Research Center investigated the experiences of local food entrepreneurs to understand their motivations for working with local foods, the challenges they experienced, and the strategies they used to make local food-centered endeavors financially viable. This paper also builds on an earlier study of the region’s emerging local food system, which in large part looked at ways food buyers in retail and institutional settings negotiate the tensions between locally grown food and larger market-based realities.
August 2021: A new report from ASAP’s Local Food Research Center presents findings from a multiyear project investigating the impact of place-based food and farm experiences in building a local food system in Western North Carolina. The research shows that direct experiences with local food and farms are, indeed, a powerful way to cultivate interest in food and food production, instill a concrete sense of community belonging, and activate engagement with the region’s evolving food system. Farmers markets and farm tours provide social spaces where participants interact and learn about farming and gain ideas, knowledge, and inspiration for cooking with and eating fresh seasonal foods. Inspired by their experiences, participants alter their lifestyles to engage more with local farms and food and act as advocates for farmers markets, farms, local products, and local food production more broadly with friends, family, and others in their social spheres.
February 2021: In ASAP’s mission to support Southern Appalachian farms and build a local food system, we developed the Appalachian Grown (AG) branding program in 2007 with the goal of expanding local market opportunities for farmers by providing a way for the public to easily identify products from local farms. We send a survey to all AG farms annually to assess the impact of program services and support and gather feedback to shape the program’s future direction. In addition, this year’s survey contained a new section specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report contains the findings from the survey sent to 775 Appalachian Grown farmers in November of 2020.
January 2021: In October of 2020, a survey was shared with farmers markets participating in ASAP’s Double SNAP program to assess the impact and gather feedback. The Double SNAP program doubles the value of a shopper’s SNAP benefits used at market. The survey was open for six weeks and collected 113 responses from market managers, vendors, and customers. A quarter of the responses came from shoppers who have utilized the SNAP program and a third were from farmers market vendors. Market managers from all eight markets who offer the program also responded. ASAP’s Local Food Research Center has identified trends and impacts of the Double SNAP program. Read the press release about the report.