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Media Advisory: Regional food business center press event set for Thursday

Coalfield Development to host press event for cultivating local food economies

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Coalfield Development is excited to announce a press event in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scheduled to take place on Thursday at the West Edge Factory in Huntington, WV.

This event is designed to spotlight the critical role of local farmers and food businesses in the region while introducing the USDA Appalachian Regional Food Business Center project. USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jennifer Lester Moffitt will be attending, along with other USDA representatives to talk with partners in the community as well as support a strong start for this new effort. The event will also feature a tour of the innovative West Edge Factory.

The event will showcase a roundtable discussion with local farmers, food entrepreneurs, and key industry stakeholders. This dynamic conversation will highlight the challenges and opportunities faced by local food producers in Appalachia and explore strategies for strengthening and expanding the regional food economy.

The highlight of the event will be the introduction of the USDA Appalachian Regional Food Business Center, an initiative aimed at supporting the growth and sustainability of local food businesses across the Appalachian region. Rural Action and other key partners of the Appalachia Regional Food Business Center will be discussing the Center’s goals and collaboration efforts.

“We are excited to bring together key players in the local food ecosystem to discuss the ways in which we can collectively amplify opportunities for our region’s farmers and food businesses,” said Debbie Phillips, Rural Action CEO. “We appreciate Undersecretary Moffitt’s commitment to our region, and support of sustainable development and community empowerment through the startup of the Appalachian Regional Food Business Center with Coalfield Development and our other partners through the Central Appalachian Network.”

The Regional Food Business Center was created thanks to funding from the USDA of over $40 million, which will allow Rural Action and partners throughout the region to provide assistance with market entry and strengthening existing connections with urban markets through increased efficiency in aggregation and distribution, meaning food and farm businesses can sell more products to more people.

Twelve organizations, including Rural Action on behalf of the Central Appalachian Network, have been selected by USDA to establish Regional Food Centers that will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building to help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources, thereby closing the gaps to success. These centers are not physical spaces, but rather collaborations between multiple organizations.

This event is open exclusively to the press, with invited representatives from various organizations, local and state government, and key stakeholders in attendance.

Event Details:
Date: Aug. 17
Time: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: West Edge Factory, 1040 Vernon Street, Huntington, WV 25704

For media inquiries and attendance confirmation, please contact:

Ashley Stinnett

Coalfield Development Communications Coordinator [email protected]

About Coalfield Development:
Coalfield Development is a West Virginia-based organization dedicated to rebuilding the Appalachian economy from the ground up. We believe in developing the potential of Appalachia through the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. To learn more, visit

About Rural Action:
Rural Action is a regional community development organization with a 32-county footprint working with members and community leaders on a range of quality of life, environmental, and economic projects across rural Appalachian Ohio. Its mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. Learn more at

Media Contact: Alexandria Polanosky – Rural Action Media and Communications Director 740-677-4047 ext. 140 [email protected]

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