Appalachian Sustainable Development launches initiative to help communities struggling during coronavirus pandemic
Bristol, VA, 04/17/2020 – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is launching a community building initiative called the Help Your Neighbor campaign which is designed to keep farmers farming and feed hungry families. As unemployment rates continue to climb, more and more of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet, including having limited access to fresh, healthy food. At the same time farmers in other regions of the country are throwing away thousands of pounds of produce and dairy products. This is simply not something we can let happen in our communities.
Each year local farmers invest significant time and money in the planting and harvesting of their produce with the expectation that they will have market outlets for their products. Due to COVID-19, that fell apart this year and many local farmers are scrambling. In response, ASD will provide them revenue lost from expected market outlets (restaurant purchases, bustling farmer’s market sales and more) by purchasing their produce and then donating it to local food banks and pantries. The challenge is that ASD did not budget for this need so early in the season. The Help Your Neighbor campaign aims to raise $30,000 by 5/8/2020.
“It seems that ASD has been preparing for just this time for 25 years,” says Kathlyn Terry Baker, ASD’s executive director. “Appalachian Harvest, the food hub we established in 2000, has been a leader in Central Appalachia, recognized for building distribution networks that connect small and medium scale farmers with markets both within Central Appalachia and on the east coast. This has resulted in a network of farmers and partners across a very broad footprint. Additionally, since 2004, we have been buying seconds produce and donating it to food banks and food pantries, resulting in 1.3 million pounds of food being donated while also supporting our local farmers. We are ready to increase our ability to move food from farmers to families immediately with the goal of keeping farmers farming and feeding hungry families.”
How the campaign works
Donations – whether they are from stimulus funds or the money people are saving by not driving to work – will be used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables which will be donated to those in need. Donations can be made online at: https://asdevelop.org/donate. Checks may be mailed to ASD, 103 Thomas Road, Bristol, VA, 24201.
ASD hopes communities will come together and do what they can, and encourages everyone to create their own Help Your Neighbor campaign. There are countless ways people can help by buying someone a meal or even calling a homebound person who desperately needs human contact. Whatever people can do during this time will make our communities that much stronger as we recover and look to a thriving future.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development celebrates its 25th year in 2020. ASD’s mission is to transition Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food.
Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio. ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to: https://asdevelop.org, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.