Road Trip – Growing the Appalachian Food Economy

For the second time in two years, I'm taking a trip to the Appalachian Region. Last year, it was the Johnson City, TN area for Mark Twain tomato plants. This year, it will slightly southeast to Asheville, NC for Growing the Appalachian Food Economy: A Forum on Local Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture. It's a two day forum that offers me a lot of opportunity to expand my knowledge, meet people and to visit an area of the country that treasures it local food economy. If you take a look at the agenda, you will see what I think is a well-planned event. I've worked on enough business development seminars to appreciate the effort that goes into creating a thoughtful, diverse and informative event. Particularly, I like how they offer concurrent sessions and tours of local ventures. Knowledge and application, what more can one ask for from a forum? Along with finance people who offer their insight into how they see future investment in local food and sustainable agriculture ventures, this event offers a comprehensive experience.

Show me a topic such as Food Heritage and Culinary Arts as Economic Drivers, and I'm sold. While this session will focus on Appalachia, the concept of food heritage is universal, and to have the opportunity to see an application of it in economic terms offers tremendous potential for me.

Another topic that catches my interest is Models of Sustainability: The Role of the “Agripreneur” . This will focus on finding a niche market that is environmental sustainable and profitable. It's a winning combination.

And to wrap up the forum, tours are offered. You can choose from three tours. I chose the West of Asheville tour, specifically for the tour of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a shared-use kitchen incubator and natural products manufacturing facility. Food heritage, models of niche markets and sustainability and a food incubator. A nice trinity for someone like me striving for an heirloom solution here at

I'll be sure to share my experiences in Asheville, NC here. I will get there on 3.31.12.