"Real Genuine, Food System Change in Western North Carolina"

The WNCFPC brings together food producers, policy leaders, food security agencies, and economic advocates to address policy needs for agricultural development and food insecurity in the seven western counties of North Carolina: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Swain, Macon, Jackson and Haywood.


The WNCFPC was created in 2013, facilitated through the Western Carolina University Public Policy Institute. The council serves as a food system coalition and support network and includes volunteers from all areas of the food system; producers, consumers, suppliers, processors, and those who work within food access and food security efforts. WNCFPC serves as a regional collaborative to advance and advocate for policies and programs that benefit the local food system and those involved to strengthen local economies, community health, and food system. The council meets to discuss current initiatives in region relating to the local food system, challenges, successes, project opportunities, and to share resources. The council also works to address challenges by supporting local efforts to provide education and resources to food system stakeholders when a need is presented, such as the launch of the Appalachian Food Pantry School in Summer of 2015. The council strives to strengthen local food systems by increasing healthy food access and food security, alleviate hunger in the 7 westernmost counties, and advocate for food policies that will benefit this region.


Type of Organization




Primary Contact

Emily Edmounds


[email protected]

Dr.Todd Collins, PPI Director [email protected]

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wncfpc?fref=ts


Issues of focus:

  • Advocate for food policy that protects small farmers at the state and federal level and spur more responsive policy at local level

  • Strong, resilient food systems

  • Hunger relief

  • Mitigation of Western NC poverty rate

  • Asset mapping: Connecting local projects with regional projects, sharing resources and successes with regional partners

  • Land use: Integration with historical, cultural, preservation projects, county policies

  • Farmer Outreach and Support: Support for growth at the market, grower, and consumer level

  • Outreach and Programming: Public health education, media, recreation, community engagement

History of Organization:

Western Carolina University  faciliatated a Western North Carolina Poverty Project in March 2012, due to the project findings, hunger, poverty, job security, and agricultural losses were alarming in this part of the state. Discussions regarding these broad topics led to interest in developing a regional collaborative that could advocate and help to support agencies and individuals in our communities affected by these issues. In a region that is unique in its landscapes, terrain, connectivity, and rural nature; collaborating at a regional level was agreed to be the most successful way to tackle some of these issues together and sharing resources, funding, etc. to make the greatest impact for the region. The first initial meeting in July 2012 achieved huge response and feedback from over 65 people and the council began meeting officially in September of 2012.

Programs and Projects

  • Asset Mapping

  • Appalachian Food Pantry School   

    • The Food Pantry School began as a pilot program from the Western North Carolina Community Foundation to provide technical assistance and support in the form of a two day training for local food pantries and emergency food providers. The course included 2 workshops that went over grant writing, marketing, business planning, nutrition, health education, and food safety. Food pantries were provided with incentives to use at their pantries, regional contacts, and connections to local organizations that can assist with initiatives relating to these topics.

  • Regional Food System Mapping

    • Mapping of local and regional organizations to document any work going on relating to the regional food system. Agencies will be able to post information regarding their projects on an ongoing basis to serve as a resource for all food system stakeholders.

  • Appalachian Farm School 

    • Intensive six week training to educate local and regional farmers, new or experienced, to connect them with local and state resources to support and enhance their efforts. Over 15 agencies provided education on topics including business planning, food safety, agritourism, soil and pest management, pricing and promotions, and laws and taxes. Farmers received technical assistance and a plethora of take-homes. The school started as a pilot in 2015, and hopes to continue it every year are in the works.  

Partners and Frequent Collaborators



Community Foundation of WNC

Community Care Clinics

Health Department Staff

Social Services Staff


NC Department of Agriculture

Western Carolina University

Southwestern Community College

Faith Organizations

Cooperative Extension

Food Pantries & Food Banks in Western North Carolina

Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council

WCU Center for Service Learning

United Christian Ministries

South West Commission

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Healthy Roots