This presentation illustrates how a lack of locally grown foods in the Mid-Ohio Valley region of West Virginia was addressed through marketing to schools, restaurants, institutions, and retail outlets by developing a cooperative infrastructure and nurturing local producers through shared learning and marketing opportunities primarily in that region. The framework model for food security and economic development in rural communities, demonstrates ways to be less dependent on imported produce and economic opportunities. This presentation demonstrates how producers were able to create economies of scale to capture more profits. Specifically, the presentation highlights a website utilized by cooperative members to administrate support, organize bulk purchasing, market local foods, aggregate and distribute locally grown products, and build on a branding campaign, known as “Mid-Ohio Valley Edibles” (MOVE).
This program’s goal was to increase producers’ profitability in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia utilizing internet sales, using existing benchmark data of less than $20,000. Over a three-year period, internet sales of locally grown foods increased by 38.7%. Thirty farm families, 5 rural communities and school systems serving over 17,000 students, 3 senior centers, 12 retail stores and restaurants and a food pantry have benefited from the development of this local foods system.
This presentation will discuss how West Virginia University Extension provided leadership development, production education, training materials, and marketing outreach to aid in the development and success of this program. It will provide lessons learned for educators interested in replication and conclude with a discussion of on-going challenges and successes.
|Conference||2017 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|
|Presentation Type||30-Minute Concurrent|