Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) completed a Food and Farm Assessment in the seven western counties of North Carolina and on the Qualla Boundary to guide the work of the EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems Project in November 2019.
The assessment goals were to:
- Identify potential supply chain improvements or additions (including but not limited to cold storage, loading docks, dry storage, and food processing).
- Explore the nexus between agritourism, brewing, and the outdoor recreation industry. Recommend project entry points and collaborations.
- Develop an understanding of market opportunities for farmers and food producers in the region.
- Assess continuing education, training, certification and infrastructure needs for farmers and food businesses. Training may include technical production topics and infrastructure as well as business creation, entrepreneurship, and management topics.
- Explore demand and viability for regional food hub, cooperative processing facility, and/or incubator farm.