For more than 22 years, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has served northeast TN and southwest VA. ASD's mission is to transition Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food. ASD's vision is that the health of all segments of the population in the region improves and that sustainable agriculture and land use are driving forces in the regional economy. Since 2000, ASD has operated the Appalachian Harvest food hub, helping local farmers earn more than $12 million dollars in income. Since 2004, ASD has raised money to purchase and then donate over 1 million pounds of 2nds produce to food banks through it's Healthy Families-Family Farms program. 


Basic Info

Type of Organization  Non-Profit 

Primary Contact

[email protected]

Social Media

Issues of Focus

  • Economic viability and transition of Appalachia 
  • Community capacity building 
  • Partnerships between farmers, landowners, and communities to create sustainable livelihoods
  • Experiential Learning programs 
  • Community resilience 
  • Food security, food equity
  • Social justice 
  • Social Entrepreneurship 
  • Community participation and inclusion 
  • Regional food systems in Central Appalachia
  • Distribution systems that connect rural communities with large urban markets

ASD believes collaborations with the aim of increasing collective impact are key to creating a thriving Appalachia. ASD works with local farmers, landowners and families, other non-profits, corporate partners, individual donors and stakeholders to help keep farmers on their land, connect farmers with markets, donate fresh local produce to food banks and educate children and adults about where their food comes from. ASD currently operates programs in sustainable agriculture/food system development and food access.  


  • Appalachian Harvest:  ASD's food hub which began in 2000 to give tobacco farmers alternative sources of income. One of the longest running rural food hubs in the country, Appalachian Harvest secures retail orders (of organic and conventionally grown produce) and provides training, technical support, aggregation and distribution to large wholesale markets. Appalachian Harvest works shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers providing technical training both in the classroom and on-farm. These classes are meant to keep producers up-to-date and provide mentorships for beginning farmers. 
  • Appalachian Farmers Market Association: supports and sustains a viable network of community Farmers Markets throughout the Appalachian region of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. The Farmers Market Association has the following goals:

    Goal 1: Create effective economic opportunities for regional farmers, food producers and crafters.

    Goal 2: Increase public awareness of Farmers Markets throughout this Appalachian region and to attract more customers to local Farmers Markets.

    Goal 3: Provide education and training to Farmers Market managers, vendors and customers to strengthen and grow regional Farmers Markets.

    Goal 4: Provide support and mentoring for new and emerging Farmers markets in our region.

    Goal 5: Increase the availability of fresh, local foods to households of all income levels.

  • Healthy Families- Family Farms (HFFF): Purchases “seconds” produce from local farmers (providing additional income streams) and then donates this nutritious produce to food banks/pantries. When applicable, HFFF also provides health and nutrition information, cooking demos, recipes and more. 
  • Learning Landscapes: A multifaceted K-12, experiential education program that creates outdoor classrooms at schools, clubs and in community gardens. For many children in Appalachian, working in this program is their first experience with fresh, healthy food and the understanding of how food is grown and where it comes from. This program aims to reconnect youth with regional heritage and traditions, and to the source of their food. The program also encourages healthy life styles and learning nature skills 
  • Agroforestry: Appalachian Sustainable Development provides educational opportunities in gathering, growing and marketing the native herbs, berries, roots, mushrooms and more that grow in the woods of Appalachia.  Wild-crafted or cultivated, forest botanicals can provide supplementary income to landowners.  
  • Grow Your Own: This program aims to improve food access by empowering families in need to grow their own food in land based gardens. ASD provides participants with seeds, tools, tilling services, education and encouragement as they learn to grow. Supported by funding from Grow Appalachia, which funds more than 500 gardens through 15 community partnerships in four states. 
  • Rooted in Appalachia: This campaign encourages connections between consumers and the local farmers growing and raising their food through a family-friendly series of activities at farmers markets throughout the season. Designed to support the use of use of local food, beer and wine in restaurants, bed and breakfasts and other retail establishments, this effort should improve local economies and strengthen social connections.   


Southwest Virginia Northeast Tennessee Local Food Guide


Future Developments for This Wiki

  • Add hyperlink for ASD's website in basic info and hyperlinks under partnerships