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Appalachian Regional Commission – June 14, 2018

In the Region: A weekly snapshot of news, announcements, and other tidbits from the Appalachian Regional Commission
ARC NEWS ROUNDUP  |  June 14, 2018  |  VOLUME 3, ISSUE 24

ARC SPOTLIGHT

On Monday, June 11, State Director for USDA Ohio Rural Development David Hall (pictured, center) visited the Chesterhill Produce Auction to meet with growers, buyers, CPA staff, and partner organizations. Also pictured: Tom Redfern, Program Director of Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry (left) and Aaron Dauterman, Senior Legislative Aide for State Senator Frank Hoagland (right).

Produce Auction in Central Appalachia Brings Prosperity and Access to Healthy Food

The Chesterhill Produce Auction (CPA) is a growing marketplace in southern Morgan County, Ohio. Each year from March to October, CPA holds 58 auctions of fresh, local produce, handcrafted wood products, livestock, hay, and farm implements from around 140 different growers and artisans. In 2010, ARC invested $50,000 to help Rural Action purchase the produce auction. This was matched by eight community members who invested an additional $25,000. Rural Action’s Chesterhill Produce Auction has seen steady sales growth year over year, with 22% sales growth in 2017 alone. This growth means more money for southeast Ohio and West Virginia farmers and businesses. From 2010-2017, the CPA created more than $1.4 million in direct cash payments to farmers and artisans in the Mid-Ohio Valley. In addition, 48,216 pounds of fresh produce were donated last year to 41 food pantries and social service agencies in the area through the Donation Station at the CPA, a project of local organization Community Food Initiatives.

As a social enterprise, the CPA is working with the Voinovich School’s Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE) Appalachia project to expand CPA’s mission to continue to build a profitable business that increases economic security for farmers and provide access to fresh, local produce for the residents of Morgan County and beyond. SEE Appalachia is an ARC POWER grant recipient that offers development services to over 58 local social enterprises and local investors. To extend the impact of the produce auction through increased distribution, the CPA is also working with the “Growing Food System Capacity and Scaling Economic Impact in Central Appalachia,” another ARC POWER project run by the Natural Capital Investment Fund alongside ACEnet and Appalachian Sustainable Development, to help with increased distribution. In the coming years, the CPA will leverage these strong partnerships into business growth, more support to farmers, and more fresh, local produce for people in its community.

INVESTMENTS IN ACTION

Williamson, West Virginia community leaders celebrate the launch of free downtown Wi-Fi weekends with a ribbon cutting event.

Connected to Broadband and Health in Williamson, West Virginia

In September 2016, 10 coal-impacted communities in Appalachia were selected to participate in Cool & Connected, a planning assistance program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities ServiceEPA’s Office of Community Revitalization (formerly the Office of Sustainable Communities), and ARC, to help rural communities use broadband service to revitalize small-town main streets. Williamson, West Virginia was one of those original communities and aimed to use the planning assistance to leverage broadband access and Wi-Fi zones downtown and at educational institutions to cultivate a skilled workforce, support local businesses, and enhance the use of heath care technology.

On June 7, ahead of the busy Hatfield McCoy Marathon weekend, the community launched “Greater Williamson Wi-Fi Weekends” with a ribbon cutting event. Using implementation funds from ARC, Williamson put their Cool & Connected plan in motion and now has free Wi-Fi access for area residents and tourists that visit downtown businesses during weekend hours. The initial downtown access point is installed on the Williamson Health & Wellness Center clinic building and provides service extending for a range of approximately 500 feet. Soon, Williamson will install additional access points to extend the downtown coverage area and capacity to serve even more residents and tourists that visit downtown businesses. This project is just one great example of how communities are using broadband to create walkable, connected, economically vibrant main streets and small-town neighborhoods and grow the local economy.

APPALACHIA IN THE NEWS

Feasibility studies key in possible expansion of state’s aerospace footprintMetro News, Huntington, West Virginia

Brown announces $250,000 for Rio Grande Community CollegeTimes Journal, Jackson, Ohio

Federal grant money to help improve waterline extension projectWYMT, Buchanan County, Virginia

Natural beauty and outdoor recreation are tops in Southern and Eastern KentuckySentinel-Echo, London, Kentucky

North Clarion students selected to attend instituteThe Clarion News, Clarion County, Pennsylvania

UPCOMING EVENTS

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

ARC is currently recruiting candidates for three positions: a health program analyst who will work collaboratively with the ARC Federal Office and state partners to develop and deploy a regional strategy focused on opioid and substance abuse prevention and recovery; a POWER program coordinator who will facilitate and organize a broad range of tasks in support of the POWER Initiative; and an intermodal transportation program analyst who will manage projects and initiatives that complement the success of the Appalachian Development Highway System and local access road program.

Complete position and application information is available on the ARC Job Opportunities page.

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The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.
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