Healthy Food Systems: A Toolkit for Building Value Chains
Anthony Flaccavento Appalachian Sustainable Development, July 2009
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This toolkit is the product of nine years of experience that Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has accumulated in building a healthy foods value chain in the Central Appalachian region of Virginia and Tennessee. The agriculture of this region was dominated by tobacco for several generations. The farm land is fertile, but divided into small parcels, where tillable land is at a premium. Although incomes vary, most
farmers in the region have limited cash or capital, and as such are very cautious about taking on the risk of new ventures. The strategy detailed in this Tool Kit reflects the reality of these farms and farmers. We believe, nonetheless, that it will have broad applicability so long as local needs, limits and assets are considered.
This toolkit is designed to help new and emerging healthy food system value chain efforts. While it draws heavily from the experience of Appalachian Sustainable Development, including particularly its Appalachian Harvest network, it also includes ideas, challenges and insights from other value chain and food system initiatives, both within Appalachia and other parts of the country. The toolkit is intended to be a handson
resource which can help spur new thinking, help refine plans, and perhaps help guide implementation of new and emerging food system initiatives.
The toolkit is divided into seven sections:
II. What is a Value Chain?
III. Getting started – A Quick but Essential Field to Table Scan
IV. Building Value Chains, the First Leg: Markets
V. Building Value Chains, the Second Leg, Building Supply
VI. Building Value Chains, Leg Three, Processing, Aggregation and Distribution
VII. Summary of Challenges and Lessons Learned