Monday, July 24, 2006

Appalachian Sustainable Development

During my vacation I headed to the Mountains once again to spend a couple of nights in the woods under the rain. On Saturday I headed down to Abingdon and stopped by the local farmer’s market on Main Street. Here I ran into a pleasant man named Anthony Flaccavento who at the time was busy folding tables and taking down the tents from various booths. Mr Flaccavento is the Executive Director for a wonderful organization and community called Appalachian Sustainable Development. I very quickly became interested in the mission of ASD and the expanding community of organic farmers in the region. ASD is a not-for-profit organization that incorporates 10 counties in the Appalachian districts of Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee in the hope to bring awareness, education, commerce, and hand-to-hand help to the sustainable resources of the region. The mission of ASD is a follows; “We come together as citizens living in and near the watersheds of the Clinch and Powell Rivers to affirm the need for development that is sustainable and beneficial for nature and people, for culture and community. Thus we pledge ourselves to work for this sustainable development:

*By promoting the values underlying a respect for people, nature, community and culture;
* By enabling local communities to meet their own needs;
* By establishing ecologically sensitive businesses;
* By creating services enhancing human potential; and
* By utilizing strategies building upon regional strengths”

ASD is broken into two main focuses. One is called “Appalachian Harvest” which is “a network of certified organic family farmers in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee who have come together to make locally grown, organic produce available in area supermarkets.” The goal of ASD is to help these family farmers work off their land in a way as to support the community, and the environment along with a way of life so crucial and known in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. The members of ASD along with community farmers share in the methods of raising crops and animals while working to strengthen the ties between the farmer, the community, and the land. For many years now, the industrial giants have pushed the small farmer off their land and into a state of desperation of life to make a buck and to squeeze out opposition to their own products. Now with the growing awareness to the benefits of organic farming and the need for the produce of small farmers the ASD encourages workshops and outlets for new and old farmers.

Appalachian Harvest produce can be found in

Most Food City stores.

Richmond, VA

Elwood Thompson's

Whole Foods stores in Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and northern Virginia.

The second focus is “The Sustainable Woods Program” which “operates a wood-processing center that supports local production of environmentally friendly lumber, harvested through the use of ASD's sustainable forestry standards.” In this focus ASD encourages and uses education of proper environmental cutting of forests and woods as a basis of sustainable lumber products and works with the notion that clear cutting is detrimental to our world, culture, and environment and that by replenishing and conserving-as-you-go will keep the forestry industry beneficial for many years to come. This organization recognizes “that the strength of the local economy is closely linked to the long-term health and productivity of our forests. Rather than simply viewing this resource as a short-term commodity, we see our forests as long-term investments. Through proper stewardship, quality forest products can be periodically obtained while at the same time enhancing our natural environment, protecting air and water quality, conserving biodiversity and wildlife, and providing recreational opportunities.

Please support these individuals because this is such a wonderful and needed organization. Plus, I might need some help on that farm one day. Check out the website and look out for the Appalachian Harvest label in your grocer or farmer’s market.

All images and info comes from ASD

No comments: