BY LAKEISHA PERKINS, BILL EMERSON NATIONAL HUNGER FELLOW
Have you ever looked around your neighborhood at the food options available and wondered if something else would work in the area? Or considered growing a backyard garden to have access to fresh produce regularly?
Topics like these, and many more, will be explored in a series of community meetings throughout McDowell County during the month of November. In addition to thinking about the food choices available in the county, meeting attendees will talk about ways to use food-related ventures, like farmers markets, CSA’s, local restaurants and more to improve the economic conditions in the area. For example, with the Hatfield-McCoy trails bringing in a new wave of tourists, these meetings can foster conversation about the best ways to ensure that profits from tourism stay and benefit the entire county.
Furthermore, during meetings we will be exploring values in McDowell, some of the assets, and how people want to see the county moving forward. While the focus of these conversations will center on food choices, agriculture, and economic development, we hope to connect other ideas to these three main issues.
Once all the meetings are held, supplemental survey data is aggregated, and other metrics are collected, a Foodshed Improvement Plan for McDowell County will be created. By holding these meetings and collecting information, we will be shaping the plan directly from the views of residents.
The goal is to create a holistic, adaptable, and accurate plan to improve the food system in the next five years that centers the experiences and suggestions of those actually living and working in McDowell County.
Please see our Facebook page for more information: Southern Coalfields Foodshed Improvement Plan – McDowell County, WV.
If you know of anyone who we should talk to individually, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (304)993-9441.
If you live in the county, please take this survey so that we can incorporate your voice into the plan: https://goo.gl/forms/fo32ipJaQ2APDfWR2.