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Our Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia® is a grassroots organization concerned with preserving the small farm, the environment, and a more traditional way of life. We believe in sustaining the small farm, the rural community, and the planet through earth-friendly agricultural practices and a buy-local emphasis.

We also believe in the importance of preserving the traditional elements of folk life as we move forward into the 21st century, especially as they relate to that most essential of human and community experiences: food. So central to our lives, yet so frequently taken for granted, food and the act of preparing it are often swept aside from our consciousness in the name of convenience, expediency, and economy. We believe that a modern paradigm needs to take into account the intangible value of food and its production, as well as its sheer nutritional and economic import.

Our most visible presence is in sponsored events like the Cast Iron Cook-Off®, a culinary extravaganza that showcases regional New Appalachian Cuisine®, emphasizing indigenous ingredients and traditional cookware, like cast iron. Cultural events such as the Cook-Off promote current health findings, serve as valuable opportunities for chefs and farmers to connect, and remind people of the value in good, honest food.

What We Do

We recognize that if we are to succeed in our efforts, we must take a diversified approach to the problem. Most importantly, Collaborative for the 21st CenturyAppalachia® engages chefs and farmers in grassroots dialogue sessions to further our sustainable agriculture/buy-local emphasis. By assisting Appalachian farmers grow products for the ever-increasing number of gourmet chefs seeking fresh, healthful and high-end ingredients, we both provide new economic opportunities for small farms and support regional tourism., Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia®’s website, is another example of its programming that supports the public, and West Virginia’s chefs and farmers. As a “virtual marketplace,” it allows farmers to market their products not only to local chefs, but to the world. Through our discussion forums, our listings of “Buy Local” locations, and our collections of valuable links and resources, we provide an effective and accessible way people to connect and harness the tremendous agricultural and economic potential of Appalachia.

Our partnership with Pierpont State Community and Technical College has allowed the Collaborative to create a college-level certificate in Sustainable Agri-Business, helping to ensure that the farms will be there for future generations, while evolving them for the present. This partnership has also resulted in a series of video training modules on subjects such as emerging agri-culinary market trends, value-added and specialty farm products, and the earth-to-table/buy local movement.

The Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia® is launching a state-wide initiative in conjunction with West Virginia chefs to capitalize on marketing opportunities centered on the use of local food products in their restaurants. We have established strategically-placed hubs with major or high-profile restaurants and resorts as anchors, such as the Stonewall Resort at Stonewall Jackson State Park. Within these hubs, West Virginia University Small Farm Extension agents work with farmers to develop quality standards and address distribution and logistical issues, allowing those farmers to supply their products to participant restaurants.

Contact email is


18 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2012 4:15 pm

    When you get a chance, an overview of what you are doing, your focus, etc., maybe a bit of history on how you got here (to blogging) would be great.
    The Farmer’s Wife

    • March 14, 2012 4:18 pm

      I posted “WHO AM I” to tell about me, since me as the blogger is a bit different of course than the organization. Good point and I will rectify it.

  2. March 30, 2012 8:31 am

    I “touched” you today….I want my readership to see how West Virginia’s awareness of local farm is growing!

  3. April 6, 2012 10:04 am

    I live in Vermont which currently leads the country in the per capita production and consumption of locally grown food, and I can’t tell how thrilled I am to see this same movement so alive in West Virginia. This is so wonderful, and that wine certainly looks good!

    If there is any way that I can help connect you with folks up here into doing the same thing you are, I would be glad to help make that happen so you can share ideas and advice.

    We have a large number of farmers markets up here, and several commercial Coop food stores (not Whole foods but locally owned Coops) where local produce is both sold and celebrated. And it gets better every year. Isn’t it heartening to see people waking up to living, eating, and acting locally?

    • April 6, 2012 11:11 am

      Thanks Sonja! I just came back from a spring break college roadtrip with my son and 2 of his friends and UVM was one of our visits. We were very impressed with Burlington. It is about the same size as Huntington and yet, it is so much more aware of healthy lifestyle. Check out my custom trip planning blog to read about our visit there. You can also see on that blog that I have been writing about the local foods movement for a while, which is how I came to be writing this one. When my son heads off to college my husband and I are planning to move to Oregon, which has a similar attitude as Vermont. If it wasn’t for the ocean and the wineries, we might reconsider! LOL

      • April 6, 2012 3:44 pm

        Burlington IS a great city and they take their recreation seriously there. It’s also a great place for the arts and there’s lots of music.
        I live on the other side of the state, near New Hampshire, but try to get to Burlington as much as possible. Glad you had a good time.

  4. cooktocure permalink
    April 16, 2012 12:34 pm

    Thank you for visiting my site. YAY for yours! Love the blog. Keep it going. 🙂

    • April 16, 2012 12:36 pm

      We will get people to improve their diets!!

      • cooktocure permalink
        April 16, 2012 3:03 pm

        I am counting on it.. one person at a time if need be!

  5. April 20, 2012 12:44 pm

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Just noticed under the comments that you liked my post on Food Labels. Thanks for that too/ I really appreciate it and hope you keep reading. I enjoyed reading your blog and wish you the very best of luck with it.

    • April 20, 2012 12:53 pm

      Thanks…we need to wake up people that they can be healthier and help the economy with this small step!

  6. April 27, 2012 9:26 am

    Thanks for stopping by and liking my blog!

    What a great purpose you have here with good health, sustainable farming and securing local economies.

    • April 27, 2012 1:31 pm

      I think if we can provide a good supply of healthy food at prices that are competitive with the supermarkets, people who actually take the time to cook will be interested in obtaining healthy foods.

  7. June 14, 2012 7:40 am

    You might like my blog this morning:

  8. April 1, 2013 10:36 pm

    Hello neighbor. I live up the big road in the Hurricane area. Glad to know you are out there and I will be keeping up with you in the future.

    • April 2, 2013 6:05 am

      Are you a farmer? Are you a consumer? Check out The Wild Ramp Market in Huntington…worth the drive!!

      • April 2, 2013 11:50 pm

        No I am not a farmer. I am the guy that goes to Wal Mart for veggies.

      • April 3, 2013 5:34 am

        WalMart is convenient, no doubt about it. I shop there sometimes as well. But when your Putnam County market opens at the City Park, go there for your veggies, The market is held Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. When you can meet your farmer you can ask questions about how the food was raised and can feel happier knowing you are not ingesting a lot of chemicals. Many of the farmers who sell at the Putnam Market also are Producers for The Wild Ramp so I know them, since I blog for that as well. When I visit the farms I can find out their farming practices and share with consumers. Knowing your farmer is even more important to good health than knowing your hairdresser or barber!

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