WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — How do you take vegetables from produce to plate?
It takes more than just planting a few seeds…it takes big-business tools to process it for our dinner table.
And Grow Ohio Valley is offering up that infrastructure with their Food Hub opening next year.
Thanks to $1.5 million from the Appalachian Regional Commision, the final journey to packaged food a little more cost-effective.
Agriculture was always a big part of Appalachia. And now to bring that back would be a strong component.Gayle Manchin, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-chair
It’s part of the ARC Power Initiative, which has handed out $47 million for projects in 181 different counties.
You’ve already seen Grow Ohio Valley’s public market on Main Street, but now they’ll have another home across town at the former Cycle Supply building.
In addition to feeding the Friendly City with their own food, they make sure other farmers and food sellers can get their products on shopping shelves.
A lot of the resources that are needed for local small food businesses to reach those markets are very inaccessible. It takes a lot of very expensive equipment, it takes a lot of capital.Dr. Vincent DeGeorge, Wheeling Food Hub Project Lead
They hope the hub will make their mission as sustainable as the food they’re growing.
It will be a boost for the support aspect of their mission, through what they call a shared kitchen.
That means storage for local food sellers.
Equipment to prepare it.
And guidance to make the transition from agriculture to business culture.
We have great local farmers, but it is hard to make a living as a raw produce vendor. And we get creative at Grow Ohio Valley, and the local farmers certainly get creative.Dr. Vincent DeGeorge, Wheeling Food Hub Project Lead
The hub renovation isn’t even the largest grant given out by the ARC in this package.
Marshall University, Elkins and Bluefield are receiving more than $3 million combined for their economic projects as well.
The Commission says we’ll see even larger grants in the future, as they are confident economic success lies in cooperation between regions.
I believe as we strengthen the region and lift up the region, all of our states will do better.Gayle Manchin, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-chair
So don’t be surprised if development starts to sprout in your town next to all that local food.
Manchin also gave a list of priorities for future ARC projects.
Those include broadband, attainable housing, and especially the Mountain State’s growing tourism industry.