You can support ASAP’s work to support farmers and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by donating to our general fund or to the Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund. Here is what we’re working on right now:
Offering direct relief for farmers.
- We have established the Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund to strategically address emergency needs in the farming community.
- Farmers may apply for ASAP’s Appalachian Grown Farmer Immediate Needs Grants. (See a list of other existing grant and loan opportunities, updated regularly.)
- Appalachian Grown branded materials are currently available at a 25 percent discount to help offset increased packaging requirements.
- Through the Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, ASAP is facilitating connections between farms and hunger relief efforts and helping to subsidize or cover farmer costs.
- Our Local Food Research Center is quantifying the impact of COVID-19 on farmers in order to communicate with stakeholders and advocate for support.
Keeping farmers markets safe and operational.
- We’re recommending best practices for farmers markets, convening market managers throughout the region to share strategies, and offering individual support.
- ASAP Farmers Market COVID-19 Response Grants are available to all Appalachian Grown farmers markets to improve the public health and safety of markets.
- The ASAP Farmers Market, an outdoor farmers market on the campus of A-B Tech, is designed to protect shoppers and vendors.
Connecting the community to farmers and local food producers.
- ASAP’s online Local Food Guide lets customers search for farms, CSAs, farm stands, specific products, and more. We have added new search functions for farms offering online ordering, delivery, or safe pickup options. Farms can update their listings here.
- We are helping existing distribution systems expand capacity and work with more farmers, in particular those that have depended on sales to restaurants.
- We are connecting farmers with training in setting up online markets, best practices for deliveries, and using social media to communicate with customers.
- Through the Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, we are facilitating connections between farms and hunger relief efforts that might not otherwise be logistically or financially feasible.
Supporting teachers and families dealing with school closures and shifts to online learning.
- We’re adapting and sharing free Growing Minds Farm to School lesson plans and activities each week to keep kids learning about healthy food and farms while at home.
- We have distributed more than 3,000 seed packets to families through Buncombe and Haywood County School Nutrition meal sites, as well as WCCA/Head Start centers in Henderson and Haywood Counties and Buncombe Partnership for Children sites.
Listening to our community.
- We are surveying farmers and partners in the region to determine their needs. (Read an initial impact report from our Local Food Research Center.)
- We are providing forums for farmers, market managers, and agricultural support agencies to share experiences and know we are all there for one another in this time of crisis.