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.


The Vital Role of Food Systems in Central Appalachia’s Public Health

Central Appalachia’s public health disparities are staggering compared with the rest of the country. However, this data-driven analysis and video presentation by Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean of the ETSU College of Public Health shows that there is great potential to impact the major health factors of social determinants and behavior. Education outcomes, public health, and […]

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Briefing Paper: “Cross-Sector Collaboration in the Small Business Support Ecosystem”

In December 2014, CAN partnered with the WV Alliance for Economic Inclusion to host a Small Business Trainers Workshop in Charleston, WV. Building on a series of learning calls between entrepreneurship support actors, this 1-day strategy session brought together banks, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), non-profit organizations, business incubators, community groups, investors, USDA, US Small Business Administration, […]

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Research Report: “Improving Systems of Distribution and Logistics for Regional Food Hubs”

Food hubs are increasingly popular as a means of bridging the gap between small and medium-sized farms and mainstream markets. Hubs located in rural areas, however, face numerous challenges when it comes to logistics and distribution. This report, prepared for CAN by MIT, summarizes existing research on food hubs, profiles several national case studies, and […]

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Report on Appalachia’s Rural-Urban Continuum and Strategies for Expanding Market Access

In August of 2013, CAN hosted a “CAN Tank” event which brought together regional economic development leaders to address the challenge of expanding market access for rural-based enterprises and economic sectors. In preparation for this event, CAN partnered with Brian Dabson of the University of Missouri’s Institute of Public Policy to conduct research on the […]

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Red Mantra Convening Report: “Building a Thriving Regional Agricultural Economy in the Rural South and Central Appalachia”

In August 2013, the Red Mantra Group brought CAN members and other local food system developers and supporters together with a diverse group of corporate buyer representative. Executives from Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Nestle, CH Robinson, Harris Teeter, and others sat down to discuss the obstacles to a thriving regional food economy, particularly the challenges […]

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Branding Study for Appalachian Food Economies

CAN partnered with the MIT Keeping Wealth Local Clinic to produce this exciting report on place-based branding strategies for food systems. The report includes an overview of branding theory, a series of case studies of place-based food brands from within Central Appalachian and outside of the region, and an analysis of lessons learned and recommendations […]

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Chesterhill Produce Auction: A Case Study

In this publication, rural Action and the Voinovich School at Ohio University chronicle the story of the Chesterhill Produce Auction in this case study. Tom Redfern from Rural Action explains the produce auction is part of a larger sustainable agriculture picture. “It keeps the farmer on the land; it keeps local people working; it keeps […]

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Healthy Food Systems: A Toolkit for Building Value Chains

This publication from 2009 profiles the work of CAN member Appalachian Sustainable Development and their Appalachian Harvest food hub as a case study of local food value chain development. In this toolkit, ASD shares experiences and lessons from Appalachian Harvest and other value chain initiatives. It’s designed to help new and emerging value chain efforts and […]

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Strategies for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (2005)

Entrepreneurship is a vital part of the economic revitalization of the Appalachian region. In this publication, CAN offers examples of sustainable enterprises across the region, discusses the policies and investments needed to support enterprises like these, and explores the importance of networks and regional catalysts in advancing a culture of sustainable entrepreneurship. Click here to […]

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