Initiative for Appalachian Food & Culture – Farm to Ohio Working Group

Project led by Rural Action

About the project.

The Farm to Ohio Working Group strengthens our regional food system through institutional procurement of locally grown food and develops our regional food network. Close collaboration between OHIO, Rural Action, and Community Food Initiatives has reduced many infrastructure barriers to institutional buying of locally grown produce and has increased equitable access to local food on campus. Rural Action facilitated certification for area farmers at the Chesterhill Produce Auction and at the OHIO Student Farm, qualifying them to sell their produce to OHIO Culinary Services. Meanwhile, Culinary Services adapted infrastructure and procedures to accommodate local, seasonal produce. Additionally, Culinary Services committed a percentage of their annual budget to local food purchases, with a plan to increase the percentage through fiscal year 2026.

Institutional investment in local food is a critical part of building community resilience for many reasons, one key reason being the number of individuals an institution serves. Institutions like OHIO have the power to offer considerable financial support for local food producers, inspiring future farmers while simultaneously influencing future consumers of local food. When we choose local food, we choose to support systems that are equitable and just for all community members, good for our planet, and supportive of local businesses and jobs.

FAO staff comments.

The Farm to Ohio Working Group seeks to strengthen the local food system in Southeast Ohio by connecting local producers to institutional buyers. This process creates a consistent vendor partnership for local producers while ensuring that local institutions have access to locally grown food and produce. This process reinforces the local food system, leading to more equitable outcomes for all participants.

Project Status
Areas of Investment
Environmental Stewardship
Funds Raised

Dollars will support Rural Action and the Initiative for Appalachian Food and Culture Project.

Every $500 raised through Cause Connector will activate a $500 bonus for the project from the Flournoy family, up to a goal of $10,000!

Benefits 5 counties
  • Athens
  • Hocking
  • Meigs
  • Morgan
  • Washington

Want to learn more?

Connect with Rural Action:

Contact FAO at 740.753.1111 or with any questions.

Contact Us