Resources & Stories

a place to communicate with the network of networks

This blog is a place to find and share stories and resources related to economic transition and community economic development work in Appalachia. You’ll find everything from personal perspectives to research reports to informational webinars. You can also contribute stories or resources from your work that you think can benefit others, using the guest post option. If you’re looking for a particular post or interested in a sector or topic, you can search or sort by category in the toolbar on the right.


Winding Road Stories: Sunflower Bakery (Appalachian Ohio)

Sunflower Bakery sits on a busy Nelsonville Public Square. There is a sense of vibrancy here: as I walk down the street, older and younger couples pass by, workers are cleaning up the square’s central fountain, and cars slowly drive past. I step into the bakery, and it is bright and warm. The smell of fresh bread hits me as soon as I open the door. I am greeted by two women, Rosemary behind the counter, and Liz Florentino, the owner. 

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HERBalachia: Creative Placemaking in Unicoi County, TN

HERBalachia welcomed our first class of herbal students in 2017. Fourteen of those 30 students were medical professionals, which indicated to me that herbs appeal to more than gardening hobbyists and flower children.  Since our first year, the school has expanded to include a second training year for health professionals, and this year we will offer our community the Sassafras Moon Herbal Festival on September 7.

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A Messaging Toolkit for Talking About Clean Energy in Appalachia

The future of clean energy in Appalachia depends in large part on collective buy-in from diverse parties – from state regulators and local community members, to utilities and workforce development networks. Advocates are in need of a common language and message that resonates across the board and unifies these vested interests behind clean energy. To that end, CAN’s Clean Energy Practitioner Network commissioned the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TNAEBC) to develop a best-practices guide to clean energy advocacy.

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Healthy food access in Appalachia – summary video!

Over the months leading up to this past winter, I was given the opportunity to work with CAN and their many partner organizations across the Appalachian region to highlight the work they are doing to improve healthy food access in their communities. I captured these initiatives through a number of short videos, each highlighting a different project described in recently completed case studies conducted and published by CAN and the Appalachian Funders Network.

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Healthy Food Access in Central Appalachia – Case Studies of Community-Based Innovations

The joint Food & Ag Systems Working Group between CAN and the Appalachia Funders Network worked together to conduct and publish six case studies of projects at the intersection of food access and health. Several members of the Funders Network funded the work to document and highlight lessons from innovative projects around the region, and CAN […]

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New Policy Toolkit for Expanding Central Appalachia’s Energy Leadership in the 21st Century

Central Appalachia’s emerging clean energy economy has potential benefits for economic development, job creation, community resilience, and sustainability. Yet, the policy context at the state, local, and regulatory level is critically important to this emerging market. This policy analysis toolkit from the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) looks at the region’s policy landscape and provides a set of recommendations and priorities to guide future policy change and advocacy efforts in Appalachia.

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Forest Farming & Agroforestry in Central Appalachia

This Food & Ag Systems Working Group learning call, hosted by CAN and the Appalachia Funders Network, featured a collection of leading practitioners and funders who work on agroforestry and forest farming around the region. They shared key concepts and definitions, highlighted current projects taking place across the region, and emphasized the economic potential, environmental impact, […]

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Federal Food & Farm Policy: Farm Bill 101 with NSAC (April 2017)

CAN members, practitioner partners, and Appalachia Funders Network members of the Food &Ag Systems Working Group (FASWG) were joined by policy experts from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). NSAC staff shared an overview of the Farm Bill process,identified critical USDA programs that are funded through the bill, and laid out opportunities to get involved in […]

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Regional Food Security Data Scan

Authored by the Appalachian Foodshed Project for CAN and the Food & Ag Systems Working Group of the Appalachia Funders Network, this report provides state-level data snapshots related to food, agriculture, poverty, and health of the Central Appalachian region and suggests approaches to creating and utilizing data as a means of understanding and addressing food, […]

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