The Central Appalachian Food and Agricultural Systems Working Group (FASWG) Processing, Aggregation, and Distribution (PAD) is a network of caring professionals who strive to accelerate the culturally responsive, small-acre mountain farming and local food economy in Central Appalachia.

You are welcome to join like-minded professionals working to see a day when we employ the region’s natural and cultural strengths to feed Central Appalachians, deeply value rural communities, share regional wealth and abundance, and empower traditionally marginalized communities to fully take part in the regional food system.


The Processing, Aggregation, and Distribution (PAD) Working Group strives to help farmers across Central Appalachia build better access to reach larger markets for their products. 

Through monthly meetings, this Working Group strives to connect farmers and agricultural producers to the nonprofits/NGOs, funders, government agencies and businesses interested in impacting the potential for business growth, new jobs, and increased income that depends on the availability and access to infrastructure for value-added processing, product aggregation, and efficient distribution.

The Working Group discusses new opportunities for market growth and explores new resources to expand agricultural product distribution. New skills and knowledge you can gain from this Working Group:

  • Connect producers to markets
  • Provide and distribute educational materials
  • Create and promote marketing and training tools
  • Coordinate policy work
  • Facilitate collaboration among value chain participants
  • Some intermediary organizations also play additional roles in the value chain

This Group, and its participants, advocate (with funders, producers, and others) for the place-and-asset-based food and agriculture system we know we need.

  • Producers experience robust land access across the region that allows Central Appalachia to feed Central Appalachians.
  • Producers have the support, tools, and capital linkages necessary to establish and sustain profitable, regenerative farms.
    • Currently plan to attain this through the eventual creation of a first time buyers program that the group laid out in summer of 2021 and is summarized here.
  • Farming in Central Appalachia is equitable and profitable because the risk and reward of farming are balanced and carbon sequestration supports farmer resilience and profitability.
  • Local food and subsequent nutritional security and health equity are the standards for consumers in Central Appalachia.

Central Appalachia’s processing, aggregation, and distribution infrastructure is anti-fragile because of collective planning and building; interregional production planning and distribution; strong local value chains; and mutually-beneficial rural-urban connections. In other words, the region’s infrastructure can withstand and ultimately benefit from unexpected stressors (like the COVID-19 pandemic).


This Working Group strives to connect and supports those who are:

  • Considering implementing agriculture infrastructure (processing facilities, aggregation sites, or trucks/distribution)
  • A farmers or group of farmers needing PAD-related supported for accessing markets
  • Food hubs or others operating PAD infrastructure seeking to become more efficient and interested in regional collaboration


Working Group meets monthly via Zoom. Please contact CAN to be invited to the next meeting.




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