Support Our Farms. Support Our Communities.
ASAP is addressing emergency needs due to COVID-19 through the Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund. This strategic fund makes possible:
- The Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program, which gets fresh, healthy food to people who need it—while fairly compensating farmers.
- Immediate needs grants and one-on-one technical assistance to support farmers as they pivot their business models.
- Grants to farmers markets to help meet public health requirements.
- Relief pricing on Appalachian Grown–branded materials to help offset the cost of increased packaging requirements.
You can help sustain ASAP’s support for farmers and the community during COVID-19 by donating to the Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund.
Our communities are facing unprecedented challenges.
Since March, when COVID-19 shutdowns began, food insecurity in Western North Carolina has risen sharply. Many families struggle to access fresh foods. At the same time, farms in our region have lost market outlets. Restaurants, schools, and other institutions have closed or reduced service. Farmers markets have reduced space for vendors. Appalachian Farms Feeding Families connects food relief sites and child care centers directly with farms in their own communities and subsidizes the cost of fresh, local food.
So far ASAP had paired 23 farms with relief efforts in 17 counties. With these partnerships, we’re serving between 2,800 to 3,700 families each week. Our goal is to reach all 23 of the Western North Carolina counties in our service area.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to get fresh food into our community. The number of clients we serve has more than quadrupled since March, and I think the numbers will continue for some time as we are a very remote and distressed community.” —Michelle Shiplet, Grace Place, A Community Table in Robbinsville, NC
We can’t afford to lose our farms.
In a survey of farmers about the effects of the COVID-19 emergency, 80 percent reported a decrease in customers and sales. Two thirds reported that, if disruptions persist, the long-term financial hardship could be severe enough to result in bankruptcy, business closure, and leaving the industry. Appalachian Grown Farmer Immediate Needs Grants help farmers quickly respond to changing market requirements.
“Like with most small businesses, COVID-19 is rearranging and heavily impacting every aspect of our work on the farm. The crops keep growing, and so we keep inventing ways to sell it. Every day we review all of our options. Do we keep planting? How do we create more customers and quickly? Can we afford to keep our staff? Can we pay our mortgage? These are discussions that happen after we put our children (who are with us 24/7 now) to bed, after we finish the unfinished work of the day.” —Anna Littman, Ivy Creek Family Farm in Barnardsville, NC
More than a thousand farms in the Southern Appalachian region depend on local markets to sustain their livelihoods. Not only do these farms provide food for the community, they are important economic drivers and sustainably preserve thousands of acres of scenic farmland. Our farmers are innovative and resilient, but they are facing challenges that will take a community effort to address. Working together, we can weather this crisis.
Donate today. Support our farmers. Support our communities.