Friday, August 05, 2011
Universities in Va., W.Va., N.C. start project to improve Southern Appalachia's food system
Researchers from three Appalachian universities are teaming up to make healthier food more accessible in the southern half of the region. By surveying where food is grown, assessing farmland and gauging the distance between food and residents, the researchers will identify areas of greatest need and try to help establish sustainable food systems, Zinie Chen Sampson of The Associated Press reports. The goal is to improve individual health and the regional economy while strengthening local communities. (Virginia Tech photo: Farmers' market in Blacksburg, Va.)
"The Southern Appalachian region has historically struggled with high levels of food insecurity and economic instability," Susan Clark, associate professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise at Virginia Tech and lead investigator on the study, said in a release. "We aim to enhance knowledge of barriers and opportunities for improving food security and economic viability through local and regional food system development in this region."
The project is part of a three-year, $2 million initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Partners are West Virginia University and North Carolina State University. (Read more)
Local food may be better, but it's often more expensive, and that has been the main obstacle for a striggling restaurant in Meadowview, Va., Jane Black of The New York Times reported last week. The Harvest Table is owned by Steven Hopp, husband of author
AnneBarbara Kingsolver, whose 2007 book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, a memoir about their attempt to produce all their own food for a year, "helped introduce Americans to the locavore creed," Black writes.