The James Beard Foundation and Food Tank just released their first “Good Food Org Guide” celebrating more than 400 U.S.-based organizations for their work cultivating a better food system.
And West Virginia has five great groups on the list …
Congrats to The Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, West Virginia University (WVU) Small Farm Center and The Wild Ramp!
These Mountain State recipients were honored for their exemplary work in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice. Only “nonprofit, scholarly and municipal initiatives” were chosen in an effort to spotlight efforts that are focused on community building and engagement, advocacy, and service.
According to the news release, “These groups are working in fields, kitchens, classrooms, laboratories, businesses, town halls and Congress to create a better food system.”
They’re also working to combat childhood obesity, malnourishment and physical inactivity; prevent food waste; educate consumers on healthy, nutritious food choices; create networks of social entrepreneurs; protect food and restaurant workers; highlight solutions for restoring the health of people and the planet; work with indigenous communities to preserve traditions, culture and biodiversity; inspire and educate individuals to cook more of their own food; and protect public health, human health and the environment.
The list was determined by distinguished experts, including past recipients of the James Beard Leadership Award and food and agriculture leaders. You can download a free copy of the guide here.
Check out the summaries below to learn more about the West Virginia groups honored …
The Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia
The Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia emphasizes the importance of preserving a traditional way of life by supporting farmers and the rural communities where they live. They encourage community members to buy food from local farmers and promote businesses that utilize local resources. They host community events like the Cast Iron Cook Off, where chefs use indigenous ingredients and citizens learn about food preparation.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange advocates for growers’ rights to save their own seeds. The seeds they offer to consumers are held with that value in mind. They serve on the Organic Seed Alliance and donate 30 percent of their profits to environmental groups while providing basic information on how to properly save seeds.
West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition
West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition aims to improve the availability of healthy local food for all state residents. They host policy and advocacy workshops to publish groundbreaking information, such as their recent report on how to best facilitate SNAP outreach initiatives.
West Virginia University (WVU) Small Farm Center
West Virginia University (WVU) Small Farm Center helps small farmers implement various techniques and strategies to increase their bottom lines. They accomplish this by hosting conferences where professionals and experts share knowledge and small farmers may capitalize on new and exciting opportunities.
The Wild Ramp
The Wild Ramp in Huntington is a community-supported marketplace that operates year-round. They supply their customers with products from local farmers and vendors to support local families, encourage healthy eating, promote small-scale farming, and build community.