Hello from Asheville, NC

I'm here in Asheville, North Carolina to attend the Growing the Appalachian Food Economy forum. It's a teo day event filled with thoughtful seminars, and tours. I will attending the Food Heritage and Culinary Arts as Economic Drivers session, which is part of the first day's concurrent breakout sessions.

Appalachia’s strong food heritage is an asset local leaders can build on to develop sustainable local food systems and strengthen local economies. In this session, panelists will describe how communities across Appalachia are using local food resources to foster entrepreneurship, attract tourists, and diversify local economies.

Sounds like a very interesting topic, and one that is relevant for me.

The second breakout session, Models of Sustainability: The Role of the “Agripreneur" offers me insight into the business of sustainability. As I grow what I do here, this session will be helpful in determining if a food product or products is a feasible way to sustain myself and the concept.

Entrepreneurial farmers and food producers throughout Appalachia are finding new markets and niche products to sell, increasing revenue and creating business ventures that are both profitable and environmentally sustainable. In this session panelists will discuss innovative ways “agripreneurs” are adapting to changing market conditions, satisfying customer demand, and creating new agricultural and culinary experiences.

I'm looking forward to learning about the work that people do to preserve the local food culture and the direction they see it going in.

While I'm here, I will be meeting with  Susannah Patty and Ashley Gillett from the Appalachian Food Story Bank.

The Appalachian Food Storybank, a program of Slow Food Asheville, seeks to acknowledge, honor, and archive Appalachian heritage foods and foodways in order to promote the preservation of diverse local knowledges, natural resources, and food biodiversity.

I love this.

The AFS Storybooth is a portable recording booth that is set up at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and other venues.

And, the Asheville area is absolutely beautiful. I have a lot to explore and learn about this week, which I will share with you. I'm very fortunate to be here.